Nelson Tebbe

Jane M.G. Foster Professor of Law
Nelson Tebbe
Contact Information
Cornell Law School
202 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Phone: (607) 255-0111

Rachel Liseno
Cornell Law School
315 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901

Professional Biography

Nelson Tebbe teaches courses on constitutional law, religious freedom, freedom of speech, legal theory, and professional responsibility. His scholarship focuses on constitutional law and political theory-in particular, the relationship between religious traditions and democratic governments.

Tebbe is the author of a new book, Religious Freedom In An Egalitarian Age (Harvard University Press, 2017). There, he examines the contemporary conflict between religious freedom and equality law, and he argues for a way forward that vigorously protects civil rights while safeguarding the ability of religious traditionalists to dissent from what they view as a new egalitarian orthodoxy. He also is coauthor of a case book, Religious Liberty and Secular Government: Cases and Materials (West, forthcoming 2018) (with Frederick Gedicks, Micah Schwartzman, and Robert Tuttle). His articles have appeared in the Cornell Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Journal of Religion, Michigan Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Virginia Law Review. As a media commentator, he has published opinion pieces in outlets such as Slate, The New York Times, Scotusblog, Balkinization, and the Daily News.

He is co-organizer of the Annual Law and Religion Roundtable. Trained in the academic study of religion as well as law, Tebbe serves on the Board of Consultants of the Journal of Religion, which is peer edited and published at the University of Chicago. He also is a member of the Board of Faculty Editors for the Humanities in Law Book Series, published by Cornell University Press.

Before teaching, Tebbe clerked for Judge John M. Walker Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced law at the American Civil Liberties Union and at Davis Polk & Wardwell. After college, he was a Fulbright Scholar studying at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

A graduate of Yale Law School and Brown University, Professor Tebbe also holds a Ph.D. with distinction in the academic study of religion from the University of Chicago Divinity School.


A.B., Brown University
J.D., Yale Law School
Ph.D., University of Chicago, The Divinity School