Julian Davis Mortenson, the James G. Phillipp Professor of Law at Michigan Law, is a legal historian, constitutional litigator, and award-winning teacher who specializes in the constitutional and political history of early America.

His current book project, which is under contract with Harvard University Press, develops a comprehensive account of presidential power at the American founding. It seeks to establish a new historical paradigm for the lived history of executive power by showing that the 18th century presidency was understood not as the amorphous locus of unspecified sovereign rights, but as the pragmatic instrument of a legislative agenda over which the occupant of the office had enormous influence.

Mortenson’s constitutional law casebook, Constitutional Law: An Integrated Approach, has already been widely adopted in its first three years of publication; it is now going into a second edition.

He has held visiting appointments on the faculties of the University of Cambridge, KU Leuven, and the University of Tokyo, and teaches constitutional law, presidential powers, administrative law, legislation and regulation, international law, and international commercial arbitration.

Representative matters in Mortenson’s litigation practice include service as lead counsel in a pre-Obergefell suit that required Michigan to recognize the marriages of more than 300 same-sex couples, as lead appellate counsel for the Arab American Civil Rights League’s challenge to the Muslim ban, as adviser to gun control groups on both litigation and legislative reform, as advocate for discharged military service members challenging the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law before its congressional repeal, and as a principal drafter of the merits briefs in the landmark habeas corpus case of Boumediene v. Bush.

He also litigates complex transnational commercial matters in the US courts and
has served as arbitrator, counsel, and expert witness in commercial and investor-state arbitration disputes under a wide range of institutional rules.

Before joining the Michigan Law faculty, Mortenson worked at the law firm WilmerHale and in the President’s Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. Before law school, he was a management consultant with a client portfolio spanning the finance, manufacturing, oil and gas, and information technology industries.