32099 Atiba Ellis WVU Magazine WVU Photo/Raymond Thompson Morgantown
WVU Photo/Raymond Thompson

Atiba R. Ellis is the Laura B. Chisolm Distinguished Research Scholar and Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

A nationally recognized voting rights scholar, his primary research focuses on how racial and class-based oppression interact continue to abridge and deny the right to vote to communities on the margins of American democracy. His work has analyzed voter identification laws for their socioeconomic effects, situated felon disenfranchisement laws as enforcing a political underclass, analyzed the theoretical scope of the Citizens United decision, and described the ideological drivers of vote suppression. His work is interdisciplinary in nature, spanning doctrinal legal analysis, critical political theory, race and the law, legal history, and innovative legal pedagogy. Professor Ellis’s current research focuses on how ideologically driven conceptions of “wrongful voters” diminish the right to vote. He has also written on critical legal theory and legal history.

In addition to his scholarly research, Professor Ellis frequently blogs, presents academic lectures, and provides commentary on issues regarding race and the law, the law of politics, and other civil rights and constitutional law matters.

Professor Ellis earned an A.B., an M.A., and a J.D. from Duke University. He served as a judicial law clerk for Judge James A. Beaty, Jr. of U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina and Judge Theodore A. McKee of U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He then practiced as a litigation associate at Akin Gump Straus Hauer and Feld in Washington, DC. He began his teaching career in 2006 at the Howard University School of Law, and then served at the West Virginia College of Law from 2009-2018. Prior to joining the Marquette Law faculty as a tenured professor, he served there as the Boden Visiting Professor of Law in fall 2017.

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