Joel Alicea


  • Columbus School of Law
  • Expertise

  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Litigation
  • Joel Alicea joined the Catholic Law faculty in 2020 after having practiced law for several years at the law firm of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, where he specialized in constitutional litigation. He previously served as a law clerk for Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., on the United States Supreme Court and for Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    Professor Alicea’s scholarship has focused on constitutional theory. His scholarship has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the Yale Law Journal, the Virginia Law Review, and the Notre Dame Law Review, among other publications. He has also been active in public debates about constitutional law, publishing essays in journals such as City Journal and National Affairs.

    Professor Alicea graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2013 and summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University in 2010.

    Professor Alicea is the Co-Director of the Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and a Nonresident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is also the Director of the Hispanic Student Mentoring and Leadership Program and a Fellow at the Columbus School of Law's Center for Religious Liberty.

    Professor Alicea is the recipient of the University's Young Faculty Scholar's Award, which recognizes "a member of the faculty for demonstrated achievement during the first four years of appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor and promise of potentially significant scholarship." He is also the two-time recipient of the Dean's Research Award, which is "granted to a full-time law faculty member whose research over the past year reflects the traits of top legal scholarship," including "rigor, creativity, [and] engagement with the broader legal scholarship community." Finally, Professor Alicea has been honored with the teaching award of "Outstanding Professor of First-Year Classes."

    Professional Research and Writing

    Law Review Articles


    Practice-Based Constitutional Theories, 133 Yale L.J. (forthcoming) (SSRN)

    The Moral Authority of Original Meaning, 98 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1 (2022) (SSRN)

    The Role of Emotion in Constitutional Theory, 97 Notre Dame L. Rev. 1145 (2022) (SSRN)

    Liberalism and Disagreement in American Constitutional Theory, 107 Va. L. Rev. 1711 (2021) (SSRN)

    The Limits of New Originalism, 15 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 1161 (2013) (with Donald L. Drakeman) (SSRN)

    Shorter Pieces

    Note, Stare Decisis in an Originalist Congress, 35 Harv. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 797 (2012)

    Originalism and the Legislature, 56 Loy. L. Rev. 513 (2010)

    Selected Essays

    An Originalist Victory, City J. (June 24, 2022)

    Why Originalism Is Consistent with Natural Law: A Reply to Critics, Nat'l Rev. (May 3, 2022)

    The Debate We Should Be Having about Catholicism and the Constitution, Nat'l Rev. (Apr. 20, 2022)

    Dobbs and the Fate of the Conservative Legal Movement, City J. (Dec. 5, 2022).

    Against the Tiers of Constitutional Scrutiny
    , Nat'l Aff., Fall 2019, at 72 (with John D. Ohlendorf)

    The Supreme Court’s 2014–2015 Term: The Year the Administrative State Trembled, The Pub. Discourse (Sept. 3, 2015)

    Originalism and the Rule of the Dead, Nat'l Aff., Spring 2015, at 149

    Constitutional Compromise and Classical Liberalism, Liberty Law Forum (March 11, 2014)

    Real Judicial Restraint, Nat'l Aff., Fall 2013, at 69

    Chief Justice Roberts and the Changing Conservative Legal Movement, The Pub. Discourse (July 10, 2012)

    Forty Years of Originalism, Pol'y Rev., June–July 2012, at 69

    Gingrich, Desegregation, and Judicial Supremacy, The Pub. Discourse (Jan. 5, 2012)

    An Originalist Congress?, Nat'l Aff., Winter 2011, at 31

    Amicus Briefs

    New York State Rifle & Pistol Ass’n, Inc. v. Bruen, No. 20-843 (U.S.), Brief of Amicus Curiae J. Joel Alicea in Support of Petitioners and Reversal (with John D. Ohlendorf).