Jason Mazzone is the Director of the Illinois Program in Constitutional Theory, History, and Law, as well as the Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Professor of Law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University, his master’s degree from Stanford University, and a master’s and doctorate degree from Yale University. He conducts research and teaches constitutional law and history, especially issues concerning constitutional structure and institutional design.


While Jay Mazzone was a student, he worked with Laurence H. Tribe on constitutional cases in the Supreme Court. He also worked for Robert D. Putnam on his book, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, which became a bestseller. In addition, he was Rapporteur for a workshop group called Saguaro Seminar on Civic Engagement in America, with a membership that included Obama when he was an Illinois State Senator.

Before he entered teaching, Mazzone clerked for Judge Robert D. Sack of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Judge John G. Koeltl of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Afterwards, he practiced intellectual property law in New York City.

Mazzone taught at Brooklyn Law School from 2003 to 2012. He taught courses on Constitutional Law, American legal History, and Intellectual Property Law, among others. Since 2012, he has been at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to teaching, he is Faculty Advisor for the Federalist Society. Leading the Cultures of Law in Global Contexts project, he was the recipient of a $125,000 Graduate College Grant. He won the Carroll P. Hurd Award for Scholarly Excellence in 2018 as well.

Mazzone has served on many different committees, and is the chair of the Illinois-Bologna Conference on Comparative Constitutional History, as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the Italian Law Journal and a member of the International Association of Constitutional Law Research Group on Constitutionalism in Illiberal Democracies.

He has been cited as an expert by many different courts, including the Supreme Court of the United States. He also serves as a media commentator regularly on these issues.

Published Work

Mazzone’s primary area of research is issues concerning constitutional structure and institutional design, where he focuses on relationships between individual rights and structural arrangements. His work and articles have been published by many prominent legal journals. In addition, Mazzone lectures on these topics and has advised new democracies during the drafting and implementation of their constitutions.

Mazzone focuses on the role of culture in grounding and shaping formal constitutions, which is a topic he first researched as he worked on his dissertation at Yale. He is currently researching the global study of the future of constitutional rights as well as how the U.S. Constitution serves to both unify and divide American society for upcoming publications.

Another field that Mazzone works in is intellectual property law. He is considered to be the leading authority on the overreaching assertions of intellectual property rights, and in 2006, he coined the term, “copyfraud,” to describe works that cannot be copyrighted by anyone because they exist in the public domain.

Mazzone has written a book called, Copyfraud and Other Abuses of Intellectual Property Law, which was published by Stanford University Press in 2011. His work has led to legislative reforms in other countries, including France.

Areas of Expertise

In addition to U.S. Constitutional Law and History and Intellectual Property Law, Mazzone’s areas of expertise include Federalism, New Constitutional Systems, State Courts, Comparative Constitutional Law and History, and Constitutional Culture.

Mazzone presents papers, moderates, and serves as a panelist for many presentations, and he has offered commentary and discussion on topics in Constitutional Law. He maintains a blog called Balkinization, and he has received many different professional honors and affiliations, including election to the American Law Institute and being a Fellow at the European Law Institute.

Jason Mazzone