Marci A. Hamilton

Prof. Marci A. Hamilton

Fox Family Pavilion Distinguished Scholar in Residence, University of Pennsylvania

Topics: Federalism & Separation of Powers • Free Speech & Election Law • Religious Liberties

MARCI A. HAMILTON is a Fox Family Pavilion Distinguished Scholar in Residence in the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is also the founder, CEO, and Academic Director of CHILD USA, www.childusa.org, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit academic think tank at the University of Pennsylvania dedicated to interdisciplinary, evidence-based research to prevent child abuse and neglect.  Before joining the program on religion at Penn, Professor Hamilton was the Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University.

Hamilton is the leading public intellectual critic of extreme religious liberty and its impact on vulnerable populations including children, LGBTQ, and women.  The author of God vs. the Gavel: The Perils of Extreme Religious Liberty (Cambridge University Press), which was  nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, she is also a columnist for Verdict on Justia.com.  Hamilton successfully challenged the constitutionality of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) at the Supreme Court in Boerne v. Flores (1997), and defeated the RFRA claim brought by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee against hundreds of child sex abuse survivors in Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Listecki (7th Cir. 2015). 

Drawing on her experience studying and advising in cases involving clergy sex abuse, Hamilton is the leading expert on child sex abuse statutes of limitations and has submitted testimony and advised legislators in every state where significant reform has occurred.  She is the author of Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Cambridge University Press), which advocates for the elimination of child sex abuse statutes of limitations.  She has also filed countless pro bono amicus briefs for the protection of children at the United States Supreme Court and the state supreme courts.  Her textbook, Children and the Law, co-authored with Martin Gardner, will be published Fall 2017 by Carolina Academic Press, formerly Lexis/Nexis.

Hamilton clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and Judge Edward R. Becker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  

Hamilton has been honored with the 2016 Voice Today, Voice of Gratitude Award; the 2015 Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association; the 2014 Freethought Heroine Award; the National Crime Victim Bar Association’s Frank Carrington Champion of Civil Justice Award, 2012; the E. Nathaniel Gates Award for outstanding public advocacy and scholarship, 2008; and selected as a Pennsylvania Woman of the Year Award, 2012, among others.   She is also frequently quoted in the national media on RFRA, RLUIPA, First Amendment, clergy sex abuse, and statute of limitations issues.

Professor Hamilton is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, B.A., summa cum laude; Pennsylvania State University, M.A. (English, fiction writing, High Honors); M.A. (Philosophy); and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law, J.D., magna cum laude, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.   She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Order of the Coif.



  • B.A., 1979, Vanderbilt University
  • M.A., 1982, 1984, Pennsylvania State University
  • J.D., 1988, University of Pennsylvania
2017 National Student Symposium - "The First Amendment in Contemporary Society"
2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference

2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library 40 Presidential Drive (In the Presidential Learning Center)
Simi Valley, California 93065
Speakers: Scott PruittSandra Segal IkutaMark BrnovichRichard FrankDonald J. KochanChristina SandefurJustin PidotMilan D. SmithJohn C. EastmanMarci A. HamiltonCarlos T. Bea
Topics: Federalism & Separation of Powers
Sponsors: Phoenix Lawyers ChapterIdaho Lawyers ChapterLas Vegas Lawyers ChapterLos Angeles Lawyers ChapterNew Mexico Lawyers ChapterNorth Coast Lawyers ChapterOrange County Lawyers ChapterPortland Lawyers ChapterSacramento Lawyers ChapterSalt Lake City Lawyers ChapterSan Diego Lawyers ChapterSan Francisco Lawyers ChapterPuget Sound Lawyers ChapterSilicon Valley Lawyers ChapterArizona Student ChapterArizona State Student ChapterCalifornia - Berkeley Student ChapterCalifornia - Davis Student ChapterCalifornia - Hastings Student ChapterCalifornia Western Student ChapterCalifornia - Los Angeles Student ChapterNevada Student ChapterNew Mexico Student ChapterOregon Student ChapterSan Diego Student ChapterSan Francisco Student ChapterSouthern California Student ChapterIdaho Student ChapterStanford Student ChapterUtah Student ChapterArizona Summit Student ChapterGold Coast Lawyers ChapterCalifornia - Irvine Student Chapter
Second Annual Western Conference

Second Annual Western Conference

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library 40 Presidential Drive Telephone: (805) 522-2977 Fax: (805) 520-9702
Simi Valley, California 93065
Speakers: Maimon SchwarzschildKenneth W. StarrMarci A. HamiltonWard ConnerlyManuel KlausnerElizabeth GarrettDaniel H. LowensteinJohn MatsusakaCarlos T. BeaAlex KozinskiStephen ReinhardtArnie SteinbergEugene VolokhPete WilsonGail Heriot
Topics: Free Speech & Election Law
Sponsors: Abraham Lincoln Student ChapterCalifornia - Berkeley Student ChapterCalifornia - Davis Student ChapterCalifornia - Hastings Student ChapterCalifornia - Los Angeles Student ChapterLos Angeles Lawyers ChapterLoyola - Los Angeles Student ChapterCalifornia Western Student ChapterNorth Coast Lawyers ChapterOrange County Lawyers ChapterSouthern California Student ChapterChapman Student ChapterConcord Student ChapterGolden Gate Student ChapterJohn F. Kennedy Student ChapterLa Verne Student ChapterLincoln Student ChapterMcGeorge Student ChapterOak Brook Student ChapterPacific Coast Student ChapterPepperdine Student ChapterSacramento Lawyers ChapterSan Diego Lawyers ChapterSan Diego Student ChapterSan Francisco Lawyers ChapterSan Francisco Student ChapterSan Joaquin Student ChapterSilicon Valley Lawyers ChapterSouthwestern Student ChapterStanford Student ChapterThomas Jefferson Student ChapterTrinity Student ChapterWestern State Student ChapterWhittier Student Chapter