Joseph Fishkin

Professor of Law

Joseph Fishkin is a Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, where he teaches and writes about employment discrimination law, election law, constitutional law, education law, fair housing law, poverty and inequality, and distributive justice. Before joining the UCLA faculty he taught for a decade at the University of Texas School of Law, where he was the Marrs McLean Professor in Law; he was also a visiting professor at Yale Law School.

Fishkin received his B.A. in Ethics, Politics, and Economics, summa cum laude, at Yale, his J.D. at Yale Law School, and his D. Phil. In Politics at Oxford, where he was a Fulbright Scholar. After law school he clerked for Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Before starting law teaching he was a Ruebhausen Fellow at Yale Law School.

Fishkin’s latest book, The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution: Reconstructing the Economic Foundations of American Democracy (with Willy Forbath), was recently published by Harvard University Press. His first book, Bottlenecks: A New Theory of Equal Opportunity, winner of the North American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award, was published by Oxford University Press. His writing has also appeared in various publications including the Columbia Law Review, the Supreme Court Review, the Yale Law Journal, and NOMOS. He blogs at Balkinization.


  • Books
    • The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution (with William Forbath). Harvard Univ. Press (2022).
    • Bottlenecks: A New Theory of Equal Opportunity. Oxford Univ. Press (2014).
  • Articles And Essays
    • Evaluating Constitutional Hardball: Two Fallacies and a Research Agenda (with David Pozen), 119 Columbia Law Review Online 158 (2019). Full Text
    • Taking Virtual Representation Seriously, 59 William & Mary Law Review 1681 (2018). Full Text
    • Asymmetric Constitutional Hardball (with David Pozen), 118 Columbia Law Review 915 (2018). Full Text
    • Wealth, Commonwealth, & the Constitution of Opportunity (with William Forbath), NOMOS LVIII: Wealth 45 (2017). Full Text
    • Bottlenecks and Flourishing: A Response, 12 Review Journal of Political Philosophy 37 (2016).
    • Bottlenecks, Disability, and Preference-Formation: A Reply, 32 Bottlenecks, Disability, and Preference-Formation: A Reply 189 (2016). Full Text
    • The Democracy of Opportunity and Constitutional Politics: A Response (with William Forbath), 94 Texas Law Review 1469 (2016).
    • Reclaiming Constitutional Political Economy: An Introduction to the Symposium on the Constitution and Economic Inequality (with William Forbath), 94 Texas Law Review 1287 (2016).
    • The Party’s Over: McCutcheon, Shadow Parties, and the Future of the Party System (with Heather Gerken), 2015 Supreme Court Review 175 (2015). Full Text
    • The Great Society and the Constitution of Opportunity (with William Forbath), 62 Drake Law Review 1017 (2014).
    • The Anti-Bottleneck Principle in Employment Discrimination Law, 91 Washington University Law Review 1429 (2014). Full Text
    • The Two Trends that Matter for Party Politics (with Heather Gerken), 89 New York University Law Review Online 32 (2014). Full Text
    • The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution (with William Forbath), 94 Boston University Law Review 669 (2014). Full Text
    • The How of Unequal Opportunity, 40 Philosophical Topics 27 (2013). Full Text
    • The Dignity of the South, 123 Yale Law Journal Online 175 (2013). Full Text
    • Weightless Votes, 121 Yale Law Journal 1888 (2012). Full Text
    • Voting as a Positive Right: A Reply to Flanders, 28 Alaska Law Review 29 (2011). Full Text
    • Equal Citizenship and the Individual Right to Vote, 86 Indiana Law Journal 1289 (2011). Full Text
  • Selected Shorter Writings And Op Eds
    • The Right Wing has Launched an Attack on Representation, Washington Post (July 30, 2018). Full Text
    • The Sixteenth Amendment (with Willy Forbath and Erik Jensen) and Congress Has Broad Power to Tax (with Willy Forbath), part of the National Constitution Center’s Interactive Constitution (2017).
    • From Subgroups to Bottlenecks: New Directions for the Empirical Study of Intergenerational Mobility—A Comment on Timothy Smeeding, “Multiple Barriers to Economic Opportunity in the United States", 2(2) The Russell Sage Journal of the Social Sciences (2016). Online supplement. Full Text
    • Bottlenecks: A New Theory of Equal Opportunity—A Précis, 12 Review Journal of Political Philosophy 1 (2016).
    • Preface to the Chinese Edition, in Bottlenecks: A New Theory of Equal Opportunity (Social Science Academic Press of Beijing, 2015). Full Text
    • Essays on Character & Opportunity (edited by Richard Reeves, Brookings Center on Children & Families, Oct. 22, 2014). Brookings | Full Text
    • Perry Should Change Course to Accept Medicaid Funding, Austin American-Statesman (July 14, 2012).