Christopher Schmidt
  • Research Professor
Joint Appointment
Professor of Law; Co-Director of the Institute on the U.S Supreme Court, Chicago-Kent College of Law
Ph.D. in American Studies, Harvard University
M.A. in History, Harvard University
J.D., Harvard Law School
B.A. in History, Dartmouth College

Christopher W. Schmidt

  • Research Professor
ABF Researcher

Christopher Schmidt (he/him) is a Research Professor at the American Bar Foundation and an Associate Professor of Law and Codirector of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States at Chicago-Kent College of Law. He has also served as the editor of the ABF journal Law & Social Inquiry since 2013. 

His research explores U.S. legal and constitutional history, with a focus on the relationship between social movements, legal institutions, and constitutional change in the twentieth century. He has published in leading law reviews and peer-review journals, and his article “Divided by Law: The Sit-Ins and the Role of the Courts in the Civil Rights Movement” won the 2014 Association of American Law Schools’ Scholarly Papers Competition and the 2016 American Society for Legal History’s Surrency Prize. 

Schmidt’s most recent book is Civil Rights in America: A History (Cambridge University Press, 2021) which examines how Americans have struggled over the meaning of civil rights from the Civil War through today. He is also the author of The Sit-Ins: Protest and Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era (University of Chicago Press, 2018). 

Research Focus

The history of the United States Supreme Court as a focal point for political and cultural movement; the intersection of social movement mobilization and constitutional change in United States history.