In the News


Jesse Choper in the news:



Finally, a way to diversify Cal universities?

Jesse Choper quoted in California Magazine, March 10, 2014

Beyond that, says UC Berkeley Law professor Jesse Choper, even if the state’s affirmative action ban were to be repealed, times have changed since 1996—and so has the Supreme Court of the United States. “There’s a big hurdle now,” he says. Unlike previous courts, which granted institutions a bit more leeway in crafting diversity-boosting programs, the philosophy of this court is clear: “Race-based programs are a bad thing and we can only use them in extremis.”


MIT plans to set up legal resource for student entrepreneurs

Jesse Choper quoted in USA Today, March 1, 2014

Jesse Choper … says if any reasonable student can conclude that what they did was something MIT was encouraging, the administration must back him up. “The university is legally—if not morally and ethically—obligated to support him,” Choper says.


Kennard leaves imprint on the law—and a seat to fill

Jesse Choper quoted in The Recorder, February 14, 2014 (subscription required)
Liu’s selection “is a very good template for guessing who he’s looking for,” said UC Berkeley law professor Jesse Choper. “It’s clear that he’s looking for someone who’s very smart and very thoughtful.… I think he’s going to look for a moderate liberal, maybe like Joyce Kennard.”


California questions corporations’ religious rights

Kristin Luker and Jesse Choper quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, November 10, 2013

Access to contraception is also part of “the politics of marriage,” said Kristin Luker…. An employer’s refusal to allow birth-control coverage for female employees amounts to “a symbolic statement (promoting) the idea that women should properly be at home with their families, that motherhood is the most important job for women,” Luker said.

What’s more, said Jesse Choper, a constitutional law professor at Berkeley and a former Supreme Court clerk, the court ruled in 1990 that the government can enforce a neutrally drafted, generally applicable law “even though it interferes with religious beliefs”—in that case, an American Indian’s belief in the ritual use of peyote.


Social issues appear on new Supreme Court docket

Jesse Choper quoted in Deseret News, October 8, 2013

Jesse Choper, public law professor at Berkeley Law at the University of California Berkeley, said many of these cases are unpredictable. “You just don’t know which way they’re going to go,” he said. “But the majority of the cases (the court usually takes) are to reverse decisions.”


Many U.S. lawmakers want a say on taking action in Syria

Jesse Choper quoted in National Public Radio, August 28, 2013

“The Constitution doesn’t give me any quick answer to this,” says Jesse Choper, who teaches constitutional law at the University of California, Berkeley. “It does say that Congress shall have the power to declare war. Well, the president would say, ‘I am not declaring war. I am simply implementing foreign policy.’”


Christopher Edley, dean of Berkeley Law, to resign in December

Jesse Choper and Robert Berring quoted in The Daily Californian, August 19, 2013

Edley redefined Boalt’s financial model and raised “unheard of” amounts of money, according to former Berkeley Law dean and current professor Jesse Choper. He also expanded the faculty and modernized the school’s facilities. “Transformative is one of those overused, trendy words, but that’s what his work was — transformative,” Choper said.

“He came from high-level politics and brought incredible energy and vision,” said Berkeley Law professor Robert Berring.


To the mat: parents to appeal ruling allowing yoga in public schools

Jesse Choper and Stephen Sugarman quoted in The Christian Science Monitor, July 3, 2013

“Just because the Ten Commandments condemn murder and theft doesn’t make laws prohibiting murder a violation of church and state,” says Jesse Choper, a constitutional scholar at the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. “McGowan v. Maryland saved a lot of other religious-looking laws.”

The San Diego case is not the first time a court has rejected a legal claim that teaching yoga in the public schools violates the First Amendment prohibition of the establishment of religion by government, says UC Berkeley law professor Stephen Sugarman…. What is termed yoga can be delivered as a form of healthful exercise and breathing, in effect, as part of the physical education program, he says. “That is what the judge decided here.”


John Roberts, the high court’s chief peacemaker

Jesse Choper quoted in POLITICO, June 27, 2013

“I would be very surprised, and underline the word very, if he were to hold that a prohibition on gay marriage is unconstitutional. If he didn’t join the DOMA case, I don’t think he’s willing to go farther,” said Jesse Choper of the University of California/Berkeley Law School.


Legal scholars say decisions drive gay marriage issue to the states

Jesse Choper quoted in Ventura County Star, June 26, 2013

“We don’t know what the future of gay marriage in the states is,” said Professor Jesse Choper of UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. We are left with “strong hints,” he said, that if a state is willing to grant gays the right to marry, “then the federal government can’t come in and say, no we’re going to treat them differently.” But the opinions do not address what happens in states where there is no law allowing gays to marry.


Forty-four years after Stonewall, ‘it’s a whole different world’

Jesse Choper quoted in The Sacramento Bee, June 26, 2013

Jesse Choper, a professor of public law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, called it part of the “egalitarian revolution” that has been growing in the United States. “There’s a great increase in liberal attitudes, and it’s not just California. And efforts to stop it are being rejected,” said Choper. “It’s just a public attitude: Equality is viewed with much greater sympathy, and not only in race.”


High court reconsidering Voting Rights Act

Jesse Choper quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, June 24, 2013 (registration required)

Such predictions might be overstated, said Jesse Choper…. He said a ruling overturning the law should send a message to Congress to pass a new version with updated coverage standards. That would be difficult in the current Congress, Choper acknowledged, but “it would depend a lot on the pressure being put on them.”


Academy’s troubles shadow key report

Jesse Choper quoted in The New York Times, June 11, 2013

“I have certainly heard from other members,” said Jesse H. Choper, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law and a member of the academy’s council. “They were concerned. I can’t say more.”


Law prof doubts brief by prominent Republicans opposing Prop 8 will sway Supreme Court

Jesse Choper quoted in San Francisco Appeal, February 26, 2013

“It can’t hurt, but I doubt it’s going to help,” said Jesse Choper, a constitutional law professor and former dean at the UC Berkeley School of Law who teaches an annual course on Supreme Court cases. “Friend-of-the-court briefs ordinarily have virtually no impact at most,” Choper said…. An Obama Administration brief also wouldn’t make much difference to the court’s nine justices. “Everybody knows where he stands. It’s politics.”


Decision on gay ‘conversion therapy’ ban depends on other rulings

Jesse Choper quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 15, 2012

UC Berkeley constitutional law scholar Jesse Choper said the law faces “a steep uphill battle” on free speech grounds. “It is very hard to silence speech generally,” Choper said.


Oakland cop faces probe over comments

Jesse Choper quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 2012

“The fact that he is commenting on a matter that is public concern—the lawsuit—and not simply on his own, will tend to be something that favors protection under the First Amendment,” Choper said. “What he has to overcome is the fact that he is making a comment on employment conditions, which is a matter of internal office affairs,” Choper added. “That, by itself, cuts against his claim that he’s protected by the First Amendment.”


Pastors challenge IRS rule with partisan talk

Jesse Choper quoted in California Watch, November 21, 2012

“There are lots of laws that aren’t enforced,” said Jesse H. Choper, a UC Berkeley law professor who specializes in church-state issues. “This is one of them.”


UC Berkeley law professor Jesse Choper receives award from state bar

Jesse Choper and John Yoo quoted in The Daily Californian, October 14, 2012

Choper said he feels humbled by the recognition. “I am very pleased to have received it,” he said. “I have studied the names who have received it in the past, and they all have very distinguished careers. I feel privileged and honored to join them.”

John Yoo, a professor at UC Berkeley’s law school, called Choper a “long-time servant” of the law school and the campus whose work studying judicial review and the rights of religious minorities has had a considerable impact on the legal community. “It is fair to say that in both fields, Choper has published leading works that have moved his field forward and influenced generations of scholars,” Yoo said in an email.


Affirmative action: Fisher case could have far-reaching effects

Jesse Choper quoted in The Daily Californian, October 9, 2012

The swing vote on the court is Justice Anthony Kennedy, said Jesse Choper, Earl Warren Professor of Public Law at UC Berkeley’s law school. “Kennedy is not the easiest justice to predict … if they’re going to get anyone on the right, they’re going to get Kennedy,” Choper said.


UC Berkeley law professor Jesse Choper receives award from state bar

Jesse Choper and John Yoo quoted in The Daily Californian, October 14, 2012

Choper said he feels humbled by the recognition. “I am very pleased to have received it,” he said. “I have studied the names who have received it in the past, and they all have very distinguished careers. I feel privileged and honored to join them.”

John Yoo, a professor at UC Berkeley’s law school, called Choper a “long-time servant” of the law school and the campus whose work studying judicial review and the rights of religious minorities has had a considerable impact on the legal community. “It is fair to say that in both fields, Choper has published leading works that have moved his field forward and influenced generations of scholars,” Yoo said in an email.