Elizabeth A. Reese

Elizabeth A. Reese, Yunpoví (Tewa: Willow Flower) is a scholar of American Indian tribal law, federal Indian law, and constitutional law focusing on the intersection of identity, race, citizenship, and government structure. Her scholarship examines the way government structures, citizen identity, and the history that is taught in schools, can impact the rights and powers of oppressed racial minorities within American law.

Professor Reese is a nationally recognized expert on tribal law and federal Indian law and frequent media commentator on developments within the doctrine, particularly at the U.S. Supreme Court. Her scholarship on tribal law, constitutional law, popular sovereignty, and voting rights law has been published in Stanford Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, and Houston Law Review.

Prior to joining SLS, she served as the Harry A. Bigelow Teaching Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago. Previously, Professor Reese worked at the National Congress of American Indians where she supported tribal governments across the country as they implemented expanded criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians under the 2013 Violence Against Women Act. Her comprehensive five-year report on the tribal prosecutions thus far—which documented not only outcomes and unforeseen complications but the surge of tribal law innovation brought on by expanded jurisdiction—has been widely cited everywhere from Congress to Supreme Court briefs. Reese began her legal career as a civil rights litigator at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund where she led a desegregation case in one of the largest school districts in Florida and worked on the challenge to Alabama’s Voter ID law.

Reese served as a law clerk to Judge Diane Wood on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and Judge Amul Thapar on the Eastern District of Kentucky Court (now the Sixth Circuit). She also was a fellow at the Senate Judiciary Committee, and at the U.S. Department of Justice in the Civil Rights Division’s Appellate Section.

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