Samuel R. Bagenstos
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice
Samuel Bagenstos is on leave from his position as Professor of Law at the University of Michigan Law School to serve as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice. As Principal Deputy AAG, Bagenstos assists in the overall management of the Division and directly supervises the Division’s Appellate and Disability Rights Sections, as well as the disability rights work of the Division’s Special Litigation Section. He served from 1994 to 1997 as a career attorney in the Appellate Section of the Division, where he worked on the full range of civil rights issues.
Since 1999, Bagenstos has been a law professor; he has taught at Harvard, Washington University in St. Louis, UCLA, and the University of Michigan. Since becoming a professor, he has taught constitutional law and civil rights law, written extensively on disability rights and civil rights more generally, and continued to litigate civil rights cases (usually pro bono). During that time, Bagenstos played a key role in defending the constitutionality of the Americans with Disabilities Act and its abrogation of state sovereign immunity. He represented individuals with disabilities in a number of cases in which defendants attacked the statute as unconstitutional, including Tennessee v. Lane and United States v. Georgia -- two cases in which the Supreme Court upheld the statute against such attacks. He has argued civil rights cases in the Supreme Court and most of the federal courts of appeals, and as an academic he testified before Congress in favor of the so-called Lily Ledbetter Bill and the ADA Amendments Act.
Bagenstos graduated with Highest Honors and Highest Distinction in 1990 from the University of North Carolina; he received his law degree magna cum laude in 1993 from the Harvard Law School (where he was first in his class). He clerked for Judge Stephen Reinhardt on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States.