Jay D. Wexler

Professor of Law

BA magna cum laude, Harvard University
MA, University of Chicago Divinity School
JD, Stanford University

Areas of Interest
Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Environmental Law, Legislative Process, Religion & Law, U.S. Supreme Court

Professor Jay Wexler has taught at Boston University School of Law since 2001. He earned tenure in 2007 and was awarded the Michael Melton Award for Excellence in Teaching at the law school in 2009. Professor Wexler’s scholarship focuses on church-state law. His articles, essays, and reviews have been published in the BYU Law Review, George Washington Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Texas Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, Washington University Law Review, and William and Mary Law Review, among other places.

Professor Wexler has published two non-fiction books with Beacon Press in Boston, and one work of fiction with Quid Pro Books. His forthcoming non-fiction book will focus on worldwide clashes between religious practices and environmental protection, and will also be published by Beacon Press. Professor Wexler often reviews books for the Boston Globe, and his shorter essays have appeared in places like The Huffington Post, Mental Floss, National Geographic’s NewsWatch, Salon, Slate, and Spy.

Wexler speaks on church-state and other constitutional issues across the United States and internationally. In the fall of 2014, he taught on a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Buenos Aires. He has previously taught constitutional civil liberties at the University of Lyon 3 and church-state law on a Fulbright Fellowship at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. He has delivered lectures on constitutional and environmental topics in Bangkok, Hanoi, Moscow, Oslo, Santiago, and Warsaw.

Before coming to BU Law, Professor Wexler worked as a law clerk for Judge David Tatel on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the United States Supreme Court. From 1999 to 2001, he was an attorney advisor at the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice where he provided advice on constitutional and statutory issues to various members of the executive branch.

In 2005, Professor Wexler published a “study” of humor in Supreme Court oral argument in the legal journal The Green Bag. The New York Times subsequently ran a front page story on the study, but unfortunately this did not result in funnier jokes being told from the bench. Wexler tweets @SCOTUSHUMOR.

  1. Jay Wexler, When God is Not Green: A World-wide Journey to Places Where Religious Practice and Environmentalism Collide, Beacon Press (2016).
  2. Jay Wexler, Tuttle in the Balance: A Novel, ABA Publishing (2015).
  3. Jay Wexler, "Constitutional Exaptation, Political Dysfunction, and the Recess Appointments Clause," in Symposium America's Political Dysfunction: Constitutional Connections, Causes and Cures, 94 Boston University Law Review 807 (2014).
  4. Jay Wexler, "Government Disapproval of Religion," 2013 Brigham Young University Law Review 119 (2013).
    SSRN | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  5. Jay Wexler, "Some Thoughts on the First Amendment's Religion Clauses and Abner Greene's Against Obligation, with Reference to Patton Oswalt's Character 'Paul from Staten Island' in the Film Big Fan," in Symposium On Constitutional Obligation and Disobedience: A Symposium on Abner S. Green's Against Obligation and Louis Michael Seidman's On Constitutional Disobedience, 93 Boston University Law Review 1363 (2013).
  6. Jay Wexler, Adventures of Ed Tuttle, Associate Justice, and Other Stories, Quid Pro, LLC (2012).
  7. Jay Wexler & David Hatton, "The First Ever (Maybe) Original Jurisdiction Standings," 1 Journal of Legal Metrics 19 (2012).
    SSRN | Publisher
  8. Jay Wexler, "Eagle Party," 14 Green Bag 2d 181 (2011).
  9. Jay Wexler, "I’m a Laycockian! (for the Most Part)," review of Douglas Laycock, Collected Works on Religious Liberty, Volume 1: Overviews and History, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (2010), 89 Texas Law Review (2011).
  10. Jay Wexler, The Odd Clauses: Understanding the Constitution Through Ten of its Most Curious Provisions, Beacon Press (2011).
  11. Jay Wexler, "From the Classroom to the Courtroom: Intelligent Design and the Constitution," 3:2 Evolution: Education & Outreach 215 (2010).
  12. Jay Wexler, "Judicial Minimalism and the Evolution Controversy: Further Thoughts on the 'Is it Science?' Question," in Symposium Intelligent Design and the Constitution, 4 University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy 30 (2010).
  13. Jay Wexler, "Justice Ginsburg's Footnotes," in Symposium The Jurisprudence of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 43 New England Law Review (2010).
    Lexis Advance
  14. Jay Wexler, Holy Hullabaloos: A Road Trip to the Battlegrounds of the Church/State Wars, Beacon Press (2009).
  15. Jay Wexler, "Religion in Public Schools," in The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion 815, Richard A. Shweder, ed., University of Chicago Press (2009).
  16. Jay Wexler, "Laugh Track II, Still Laughin'!" 117 Yale Law Journal Pocket Part 130 (2007).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance
  17. Jay Wexler, "Protecting Religion Through Statute: The Mixed Case of the United States," 5(3) Review of Faith and International Affairs 17 (2007).
  18. Jay Wexler, "What Should We Teach When We Teach About Religion? The Case for a Global Perspective," in Conference Proceedings: Religion and the Rule of Law in Southeast Asia: Continuing the Discussion , Institute for Global Engagement (2007). [In English and Vietnamese]
  19. Jay Wexler, "The (Non)Uniqueness of Environmental Law," 74 George Washington Law Review 260 (2006).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  20. Jay Wexler, "The Endorsement Court," 21 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 263 (2006).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  21. Jay Wexler, "From the Classroom to the Courtroom: Intelligent Design and the Constitution," in Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design is Wrong for Our Schools 83, Beacon Press (2006).
  22. Jay Wexler, "Intelligent Design and the First Amendment: A Response," 84 Washington University Law Quarterly 63 (2006).
    Westlaw | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  23. Jay Wexler, "Kitzmiller and the 'Is it Science?' Question," 5 First Amendment Law Review 90 (2006).
    Westlaw | " target="_blank">Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  24. Jay Wexler, "Too Much, Too Little: Religion in the Public Schools," 6 University of Maryland Journal of Race, Religion, Gender, and Class 107 (2006).
    Westlaw | " target="_blank">Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  25. Jay Wexler, "Laugh Track," 9 Green Bag 2d 59 (2005).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance
  26. Jay Wexler, "The Scopes Trope," review of Larry A. Witham, Where Darwin Meets the Bible: Creationists and Evolutionists in America, Oxford University Press (2002), 93 Georgetown Law Journal 1693 (2005). Westlaw | Lexis Advance
  27. Jay Wexler, "Parks as Gyms? Recreational Paradigms and Public Health in the National Parks," 30 American Journal of Law and Medicine 155 (2004).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  28. Jay Wexler, "Darwin, Design, and Disestablishment: Teaching the Evolution Controversy in Public Schools," 56 Vanderbilt Law Review 749 (2003).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  29. Jay Wexler, "Framing the Public Square," review of Stephen L. Carter, God's Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politics, Basic Books (2000), 91 Georgetown Law Journal 183 (2002). Westlaw | Lexis Advance
  30. Jay Wexler, "Preparing for the Clothed Public Square: Teaching About Religion, Civic Education, and the Constitution," 43 William and Mary Law Review 1159 (2002).
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  31. Jay Wexler, "Defending the Middle Way: Intermediate Scrutiny as Judicial Minimalism," 66 George Washington Law Review 298 (1998).
    Westlaw | " target="_blank">Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  32. Jay Wexler, "Cleaning the Mess?" 49 Stanford Law Review 667 (1997). [Book Note]
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance
  33. Jay Wexler, "Of Pandas, People, and the First Amendment: The Constitutionality of Teaching Intelligent Design in the Public Schools," 49 Stanford Law Review 439 (1997). [Note]
    Westlaw | Lexis Advance | HeinOnline (BU) | HeinOnline
  34. Jay Wexler, "Risk in the Balance," Risk Versus Risk: Tradeoffs in Protecting Health and the Environment, J. D. Graham & J. B. Wiener, eds., Harvard University Press (1995), 30 Connecticut Law Review 225 (1997). Westlaw | Lexis Advance
  35. Jay Wexler, review of Edward Tenner, Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences, Vintage (1997), 16 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 334 (1997). Westlaw | Lexis Advance

4 credits

This is an introductory survey course in environmental law. Topics include clean air, clean water, hazardous waste regulation and cleanup, and the protection of endangered species. Administrative Law is recommended but not required as a prerequisite.

FALL 2015: LAW JD 833 A1 , Sep 1st to Dec 2nd 2015
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Tue,Wed 12:50 pm 2:00 pm 4 Jay D. Wexler LAW
Fri 12:00 pm 1:20 pm 4 Jay D. Wexler LAW
FALL 2016: LAW JD 833 A1 , Sep 6th to Dec 7th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Tue,Wed 12:50 pm 2:00 pm 4 Jay D. Wexler
Fri 12:00 pm 1:20 pm 4 Jay D. Wexler

3 credits

This seminar will examine the burgeoning field of law surrounding the use, sale, and production of cannabis. Possible topics include federal versus state power to regulate cannabis, the substantive criminal laws regarding cannabis, and a variety of other issues such as banking, tax, and environmental laws that impact the cannabis industry in the United States. GRADING NOTICE: This course does not offer the CR/NC/H option. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

SPRG 2017: LAW JD 969 A1 , Jan 19th to Apr 20th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Thu 2:10 pm 4:10 pm 3 Jay D. Wexler

3 credits

This class will look in depth at the intersection of law and religion in the United States, focusing primarily on the Free Exercise and Establishment Clauses of the First Amendment. Attention will also be given to statutes that protect religious freedom and prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of religion.

SPRG 2016: LAW JD 944 A1 , Jan 11th to Apr 20th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg
Mon,Wed 11:00 am 12:25 pm 3 Jay D. Wexler LAW
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