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Jerry Dickinson, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh School of Law


Professor Dickinson's teaching and scholarship specializes in constitutional law, civil rights, property, and race and the law. His scholarship has featured in numerous respected law reviews. His scholarly work has been cited by U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Sixth Circuits, amicus briefs filed by Former Members of Congress in federal courts, and by foreign and international courts, such as the High Court of South Africa. His work has also featured in The Washington Post, The Hill, and The Atlantic. 

Prior to joining the academy, Professor Dickinson served as a law clerk for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. He practiced at Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh, where he founded and coordinated the Housing Rights Project, a pro bono initiative advocating on behalf of indigent tenants in eviction proceedings in Allegheny County in collaboration with the Neighborhood Legal Services Association. Professor Dickinson is a former Fulbright Scholar to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he studied comparative constitutional law and housing with faculty at the University of Witswatersrand School of Law and worked as a human rights activist organizing and representing squatters in eviction proceedings with lawyers at the University’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies. 

Professor Dickinson is widely considered to be one of the leading experts on congressional and executive powers. In 2017, he was invited to submit written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs regarding executive orders and congressional conflicts over the US-Mexico border wall dispute. Professor Dickinson published numerous op-eds in national outlets addressing the legality of the US-Mexico border wall and has been invited to join national and international scholars at conferences to address the legal implications of national emergency declarations. 

Professor Dickinson has frequently appeared in national and international news outlets, such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, US Today, Rolling Stone, Roll Call, Boston Globe, Austin American-Statesman, Washington Examiner, Bloomberg, BBC-News, BBC-UK, The Hill, The Atlantic, and MSNBC. He also regularly appears on local television and radio stations, such as WTAE, KDKA, WPXI, and WESA, and in local print outlets such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and City Paper.

Professor Dickinson also has extensive litigation and transactional pro bono experience. He‘s represented indigent tenants in eviction proceedings and conducted fair housing civil rights litigation in state court. Professor Dickinson represented a non-profit organization to establish a community land trust in a predominantly Black neighborhood. He served as legal counsel for an activist organization pursuing a ballot referendum to overhaul a local police department. Professor Dickinson has also advised a local historic Black church in past discrimination claims. Professor regularly attends and speaks at protests and rallies throughout the region on issues related to racial justice and human rights. 

Professor Dickinson is a former congressional candidate. In 2020 and 2022, he ran for the Democratic nominations in two high-profile federal elections for Pennsylvania's 12th and 18th Congressional Districts on platforms involving racial justice, healthcare reform, climate change, gun control, criminal justice reform and affordable housing. Professor Dickinson raised over one million in campaign contributions from 100% individual donations. 

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