Mar­go Schlanger, the Wade H. and Dores M. McCree Col­le­giate Pro­fes­sor of Law at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan, is an author­i­ty on civ­il rights issues and civ­il and crim­i­nal deten­tion. She joined the Law School fac­ul­ty in fall 2009 and cur­rent­ly is on leave to serve as a civ­il rights advis­er at the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture. She teach­es Con­sti­tu­tion­al Law, Torts, and class­es relat­ing to civ­il rights and to jails and pris­ons. She also found­ed and runs the Civ­il Rights Lit­i­ga­tion Clear­ing­house. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was a pro­fes­sor at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty in St. Louis and an assis­tant pro­fes­sor at Har­vard University.

Schlanger is the author of dozens of law review and other scholarly articles, and is a frequent commentator online and in print on civil rights topics. She is the lead author of a leading casebook, Incarceration and the Law (West Academic Publishing, 2020), incarcerationlaw.com.

In addition to her research and writing, Schlanger does substantial work in civil rights litigation and prison and immigration reform. She has been appointed class counsel in Hamama v. Adducci, a national class action to ensure due process for Iraqi nationals whom the Trump Administration sought to deport. She is the court-appointed monitor for a statewide settlement dealing with deaf prisoners in Kentucky, and she has served as an expert in numerous cases addressing detention conditions.

Schlanger took a two-year leave from the University in 2010 and 2011 to serve as the presidentially appointed officer for civil rights and civil liberties at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As the head of civil rights and civil liberties, she was the secretary’s lead adviser on civil rights and civil liberties issues. In that capacity, she testified before Congress; chaired the Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the federal Information Sharing Environment’s Information Sharing and Access Interagency Policy Committee; chaired the Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities; served on the first US Delegation to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review; and met with community leaders and groups across America to ensure that their perspectives regarding civil rights and homeland security were considered in the department’s policy process.

Later in the Obama Administration, she assisted in the development of DHS policies relating to reducing sexual abuse and the use of solitary confinement in immigration detention. She also served on the DHS’s Advisory Committee on Family Residential Centers, which recommended abolishing family detention. 

From 1995 to 1998, she was a trial attorney in the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, where she worked to remedy civil rights abuses by prison and police departments and earned two Division Special Achievement awards.

Schlanger served on the Vera Institute’s blue ribbon Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons, worked as an adviser on the development of proposed national standards implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act, and testified before the Prison Rape Elimination Commission. She also served as the reporter for the American Bar Association’s revision of its Standards on the Treatment of Prisoners, and as chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Law and the Social Sciences.