Bio

JONATHAN TURLEY
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

unnamed-1Professor Jonathan Turley is a nationally recognized legal scholar who has written extensively in areas ranging from constitutional law to legal theory to tort law. He has written over three dozen academic articles that have appeared in a variety of leading law journals at Cornell, Duke, Georgetown, Harvard, Northwestern, University of Chicago, and other schools.

After a stint at Tulane Law School, Professor Turley joined the George Washington faculty in 1990 and, in 1998, was given the prestigious Shapiro Chair for Public Interest Law, the youngest chaired professor in the school’s history. In addition to his extensive publications, Professor Turley has served as counsel in some of the most notable cases in the last two decades including the representation of whistleblowers, military personnel, judges, members of Congress, and a wide range of other clients. He is also one of the few attorneys to successfully challenge both a federal and a state law — leading to courts striking down the federal Elizabeth Morgan law as well as the state criminalization of cohabitation.

In 2010, Professor Turley represented Judge G. Thomas Porteous in his impeachment trial. After a trial before the Senate, Professor Turley (on December 7, 2010) argued both the motions and gave the final argument to all 100 U.S. Senators from the well of the Senate floor — only the 14th time in history of the country that such a trial of a judge has reached the Senate floor. Judge Porteous was convicted of four articles of impeachments, including the acceptance of $2000 from an attorney and using a false name on a bankruptcy filing.

In 2011, Professor Turley filed a challenge to the Libyan War on behalf of ten members of Congress, including Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (R., Md); Dan Burton (R., Ind.); Mike Capuano (D., Mass.); Howard Coble (R., N.C.); John Conyers (D., Mich.); John J. Duncan (R., Tenn.); Tim Johnson (R., Ill.); Walter Jones (R., N.C.); Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio); and Ron Paul (R., Tx). The lawsuit was before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Turley-600x287In November 2014, Turley agreed to serve as lead counsel to the United States House of Representatives in its constitutional challenge to changes ordered by President Obama to the Affordable Care Act. The litigation was approved by the House of Representatives to seek judicial review of the claims under the separation of powers. On May 12, 2016, the federal court handed down a historic victory for the House and ruled that the Obama Administration violated the separation of powers in ordering billions to be paid to insurance companies without an appropriation of Congress.

Other cases include his representation of the Area 51 workers at a secret air base in Nevada; the nuclear couriers at Oak Ridge, Tennessee; the Rocky Flats grand jury in Colorado; Dr. Eric Foretich, the husband in the famous Elizabeth Morgan custody controversy; and four former United States Attorneys General during the Clinton impeachment litigation. In the Foretich case, Turley succeeded recently in reversing a trial court and striking down a federal statute through a rare “bill of attainder” challenge. Professor Turley has also served as counsel in a variety of national security cases, including espionage cases like that of Jim Nicholson, the highest ranking CIA officer ever accused of espionage. Turley also served as lead defense counsel in the successful defense of Petty Officer Daniel King, who faced the death penalty for alleged spying for Russia. Turley also served as defense counsel in the case of Dr. Tom Butler, who is faced criminal charges dealing with the importation and handling of thirty vials of plague in Texas. He also served as counsel to Larry Hanauer, the House Intelligence Committee staffer accused of leaking a classified Presidential National Intelligence Estimate to the New York Times. (Hanauer was cleared of all allegations).

05282015_6695Among his current cases, Professor Turley represents Dr. Ali Al-Timimi, who was convicted in Virginia in 2005 of violent speech against the United States. In 2020, the federal court found that there merit in the challenges raised by Professor Turley and his co-counsel Tom Huff. Accordingly, the judge ordered his release to protect him from Covit-19 while the Court prepared a decision on the challenges. Pursuant to a court order, Dr. Al-Timimi was released from the Supermax in Colorado and the two drove across the country so that he could be placed into home confinement.  He also represented Dr. Sami Al-Arian, who was accused of being the American leader of a terrorist organization while he was a university professor in Florida. Turley represented Dr. Al-Arian for eight years, much of which was in a determined defense against an indictment for criminal contempt. The case centered on the alleged violation of a plea bargain by the Justice Department after Dr. Al-Arian was largely exonerated of terrorism charges in Tampa, Florida. On June 27, 2014, all charges were dropped against Dr. Al-Arian. He also represented pilots approaching or over the age of 60 in their challenge to the mandatory retirement age of the FAA. He also represented David Murphee Faulk, the whistleblower who disclosed abuses in the surveillance operations at NSA’s Fort Gordon facility in Georgia.

Professor Turley also agreed to serve as lead counsel representing the Brown family from the TLC “Sister Wives, a reality show on plural marriage or polygamy. On December 13, 2013, the federal court in Utah struck down the criminalization of polygamy — the first such decision in history — on free exercise and due process grounds. On September 26, 2014, the court also ruled in favor of the Browns under Section 1983 — giving them a clean sweep on all of the statutory and constitutional claims.  In April 2015, a panel reversed the decision on standing grounds and that decision is now on appeal.

Professor Turley was also lead counsel in the World Bank protest case stemming from the mass arrest of people in 2002 by the federal and district governments during demonstrations of the IMF and World Bank.  Turley and his co-lead counsel Dan Schwartz (and the law firm of Bryan Cave) were the first to file and represented student journalists arrested without probable cause.  In April 2015, after 13 years of intense litigation, the case was settled for $2.8 million, including $115,000 for each arrestee — a record damage award in a case of this kind and over twice the amount of prior damages for individual protesters.  The case also exposed government destruction and withholding of evidence as well as the admitted mass arrest of hundreds of people without probable cause.

Professor Turley also served as the legal expert in the review of polygamy laws in the British of Columbia (Canada) Supreme Court. In the latter case, he argued for the decriminalization of plural union and conjugal unions. In 2012, Turley also represented the makers of “Five Wives Vodka” (Ogden’s Own Distillery) in challenging an effective ban on the product in Idaho after officials declared the product to be offensive to Mormons. After opposing to the ban on free speech and other grounds, the state of Idaho issued a letter apologizing for public statements made by officials and lifting the ban on sale for “Five Wives Vodka.”

Turley has served as a consultant on homeland security and constitutional issues, including the Florida House of Representatives. He also served as the consultant to the Puerto Rico House of Representatives on the impeachment of Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.

05282015_6655Professor Turley is a frequent witness before the House and Senate on constitutional and statutory issues as well as tort reform legislation. That testimony includes the confirmation hearings of Attorney General nominees Loretta Lynch and William Barr as well as Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.  Professor Turley is also a nationally recognized legal commentator. Professor Turley was ranked as 38th in the top 100 most cited “public intellectuals” in the recent study by Judge Richard Posner. Turley was also found to be the second most cited law professor in the country. He has been repeatedly ranked in the nation’s top 500 lawyers in annual surveys (including in the latest rankings by LawDragon) – one of only a handful of academics. In prior years, he was ranked as one of the nation’s top ten lawyers in military law cases as well as one of the top 40 lawyers under 40. He was also selected in the last five years as one of the 100 top Irish lawyers in the world.  In 2016, he was ranked as one of the 100 most famous (past and present) law professors.

694940094001_6113691487001_6113685625001-vsProfessor Turley is one of only two academics to testify at both the Clinton and Trump impeachment hearings. In December 2019, Professor Turley was called as the one Republican witness in the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearings.  He appeared with three Democratic witnesses.  Professor Turley disagreed with this fellow witnesses in opposing the proposed articles of impeachments on bribery, extortion, campaign finance violations or obstruction of justice. He argued that these alleged impeachable acts were at odds with controlling definitions of those crimes and that Congress has historically looked to the criminal code and cases for guidance on such allegations.  The committee ultimately rejected those articles and adopted the only two articles that Professor Turley said could be legitimately advanced: abuse of power, obstruction of Congress. Chairman Jerrold Nadler even ended the hearing by quoting his position on abuse of power. However, Turley  opposed impeachment on this record as incomplete and insufficient for submission to the Senate. He argued for the House to wait and complete the record by seeking to compel key witnesses like former National Security Adviser John Bolton.  His testimony was later relied upon in the impeachment floor debate by various House members and he was cited by both the White House and House managers in their arguments before the United States Senate in the Trump impeachment trial, including videotaped remarks played at the trial.

download-2Professor Turley’s articles on legal and policy issues appear regularly in national publications with hundreds of articles in such newspapers as the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal. He is a columnist for USA Today and writes regularly for the Washington Post. In 2005, Turley was given the Columnist of the Year award for Single-Issue Advocacy for his columns on civil liberties by the Aspen Institute and the Week Magazine. Professor Turley also appears regularly as a legal expert on all of the major television networks. Since the 1990s, he has worked under contract as the on-air Legal Analyst for NBC News, CBS News, BBC and Fox News.  Professor Turley has been a repeated guest on Sunday talk shows with over two-dozen appearances on Meet the Press, ABC This Week, Face the Nation, and Fox Sunday. Professor Turley has taught courses on constitutional law, constitutional criminal law, environmental law, litigation, and torts. He is the founder and executive director of the Project for Older Prisoners (POPS). His work with older prisoners has been honored in various states, including his selection as the 2011 recipient of the Dr. Mary Ann Quaranta Elder Justice Award at Fordham University.

His award-winning blog is routinely ranked as one of the most popular legal blogs by AVVO. His blog was selected as the top News/Analysis site in 2013, the top Legal Opinion Blog in 2011 as well as prior selections as the top Law Professor Blog and Legal Theory Blog. It was also ranked in the top 20 constitutional law blog in 2018.  It has been regularly ranked by the ABA Journal in the top 100 blogs in the world. In 2012, Turley has selected as one of the top 20 legal experts on Twitter by Business Insider. In 2013, the ABA Journal inducted the Turley Blog into its Hall of Fame.

Professor Turley received his B.A. at the University of Chicago and his J.D. at Northwestern. In 2008, he was given an honorary Doctorate of Law from John Marshall Law School for his contributions to civil liberties and the public interest.

For further information: Mr. Seth Tate – 202-994-0537

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1,548 thoughts on “Bio”

  1. Professor Turley, I hope you won’t be distracted from answering my sincere question by Mr. Nichol. I’m truly trying to understand people’s reasoning and would appreciate your perspective. Thank you.

  2. Professor could you please explain something that’s confused me? In 1803, a federal judge, Pickering, was impeached and convicted for “high crimes and misdemeanors” that included being drunk while presiding on the bench. This was “in the days of The Founders,” when the meaning/intent of “high crimes and misdemeanors” ought to have been clearer in people’s minds. In our Constitution, the criteria for impeachment of a President is the same as that for a judge or any other “officer.” So my confusion is: how can people make the argument that “nothing Trump has done rises to the level of an impeachable event” even if proven? Pay offs? Obstructing justice and investigations? Defying Congress? Letting people die by withholding aid to an ally? Campaign finance violations? Emoluments? Denying a meeting unless favors that personally help the President are done? Aren’t those things, if true, more serious than drunkenness?

    1. There is way too much bias in your comment for you to be taken seriously…most of what you stated is not true and the rest would never have happened if the tyrannical government on the left wouldnt be breaking the law themselves in the first place while trying to undermine a president elected by the people. The left is playing a dangerous game and sooner or later patriots will finally start playing and then all youll be left with is the fact that you all finally got what youve been asking for.

      1. If you’re responding to me at least try to give examples of where I wasn’t factual … everything I said was true. And really … the left is breaking laws?? Threatening your perceived enemies doesn’t become you.

        1. I can see you think that you are really special, its all obvious what is not factual. The only reason you couldnt figure out whats not factual is because, as I already said, your bias is extremely out of control. Your last sentence makes no sense. Im going to assume your talking about lefties threatening Trump…so then why do you ignore Biden being threatened with an investigation when clearly some investigating needs to be done.

              1. Not all all. You attacked me for being biased and not being factual, yet you’re unable to explain a single thing I wrote that isn’t factual. Maybe it’s just a reading problem that you have. Sorry.

  3. Thanks for showing your complete lack of sincerity and exposing yourself as a fraudulent partisan. Your pretzel logic is laughable.

    1. Ha wow. To call the one neutral person partisan while ignoring the extreme obviousness of the other three’s partisanship shows how your partisanship has lead to such a high level of bias that it could be considered moronic.

  4. Thank you Professor Turley for giving your respectful and well reasoned testimony yesterday. Given your political leanings, in today’s cancel culture and toxic social media culture, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to express your honest opinions. Stay strong and keep up the good work!

    1. I too, wish to thank Professor Turley for his calm, reasoned responses to this serious matter.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you for logic, truth and reason and for knowing the constitution,
    You are an honorable man with guts and integrity . God bless you sir

  6. Thank you jonathan turley for the one sane legal voice at the Sandler hearing . We need you

  7. Professor Turley, thank you for your consistent and dedicated service to our country in times like these, I always listen up when you come on TV. Your thoughtful analysis of our Constitution, plus your measured admonishments to our citizenry, are wholly appropriate to our times. Thanks, and I am so sorry you have been threatened by anyone! These are very strange times, and your reasoned voice is needed more than ever. Terry Cook

  8. I am encouraged by Professor Turley’s objectivity and dedication to think through each situation and question before him. I have watched him over the years be a voice of reason. I was extremely proud of his testimony this week. I wish above all things that his students share his demeanor and strong, clear voice. Dennis Orner

  9. Thank you for your sane approach to the alleged “impeachment.” I am ashamed of the government, because it looks like about half of the members of the House of Representatives are certifiably crazy. The thing that troubles me most is that the US signed a treaty (in July 1998) with Ukraine (a “mutual legal assistance treaty on criminal matters) which not only authorizes the President to inquire about criminal matters in Ukraine specifically, but
    also makes it his duty to do so. So how come all these law professors don’t know about that treaty? How come the House of Representatives does not know about it? How come everybody associated with those whole
    mess has been studiously avoiding even mentioning it? Something smells here….

    1. Because that’s not exactly what it says, it enables cooperation. However the mechanics of this effort run afoul of the normal process.

  10. Thank you, Professor Turley, for your dedication to what is fair, just, and right. Our Congress has become so focused on their personal beliefs and goals that they have lost sight of what is best for we, the people. The animosity and vituperative remarks by members of the House and their so-called unbiased experts, (incl. Pamela Karlan) is repulsive to me as an American Citizen and voter. This sham is costing the taxpayers millions, not Congress. They need to stop their grade school mentality and get to work doing their executive branch jobs. This witch hunt needs to end. Thank you!

  11. Dear Professor Turley,

    Thank you for your eloquence, objectivity and wisdom during your testimony yesterday, a sensible analysis where your concern about the integrity and coherence of the constitutional standard and process of impeachment in this case was clearly established by your accurate arguments.

    Thank you for offering to genuinely engage in a civil and substantive discussion. Sadly, your hopes for a reasoned and civil discourse were met by the intense “rancor and rage” and “stifling intolerance” that blinds people to opposing views, as you described so well.

    Thank you for your courage when you brilliantly expressed that an expedited impeachment without clear and convincing evidence, especially on the question of obstruction, would be an abuse of power by Congress, where they are doing precisely what they are criticizing the president for doing. Sadly, that was met with futile cowardly attacks, more abuse of power, in your case obviously premeditated to damage your excellent reputation, because they did not give you the chance to respond to those attacks.

    While it is very sad to see how educated people lose all sense of fairness, logic and self-control, your impassioned analysis is very comforting and offers hope for a better future.

    Sincerely,

    PI

  12. I want to commend you for being the only rational and objective professor at the hearing. It was obvious the other professors did not believe what they were saying, and had to add hyperbole to try and sound convincing. You are a classic liberal, the kind that believes in the rule of law and free speech. Just remember which side of the aisle is attacking you for simply speaking the truth.

  13. I HAVE READ AND HEARD ABOUT THIS SUPREME .MOST POWERFUL ,INTELLECTUAL HUMAN BEING SO NAME JOHNATHAN TURLEY A LAW PROFESSOR AT THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL .MORE THAN TEN YEARS AGO AND EACH TIME THAT I HAVE READ OR HEARD ABOUT THIS GENTLEMAN I WERE ALWAYS IMPRESSED ., INSPIRED AND MOST PROFOUNDLY DEVOURED WITH THE GREATEST OF JOY .PLEASURE AND ELOQUENCE AS SUCH, .SO HERE IT WAS THAT YESTERDAY ,WEDNESDAY , DECEMBER , 04, 2019 .THIS GENTLEMAN OF THE HEIGHT OF HIS INTEGRITY , CHARACTER, VISION .EXPERIENCE . AND LEARNED TO THE EXTENSIVE AND BROAD LEVEL OF THE LAW IN THIS MOST POWERFUL NATION ,THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA , WHERE IN THE SUPREME COURT ,WITH IN MY INTERPRETATION IS THE MOST POWERFUL GOVERNMENT FEDERAL INSTITUTION OF THE THREE BRANCHES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA , EVEN WHEN THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE CONSTITUTION , STATED AND ENSHRINED IN STONE THAT IT WAS THE CONGRESS , AGAIN I SAY THE SUPREME COURT AS THE LAW OF THE HIGHEST DEGREE . SO LAW PROFESSOR MR TURLEY CONSOLIDATED AND CONCLUSIVELY DEMONSTRATES MY POSITION FULLY . HIS PERFORMANCE YESTERDAY WAS SO BRILLIANT AND EXCELLENT , IT RISES TO THE TERM SO NAME PERFECTION EVEN WHEN IT IS ARGUE THAT PERFECTION IS NOT ATTAINABLE . SO THE NEXT IS EXCELLENCE .THE LAW PROFESSOR THE ONLY ONE TO REPRESENT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AGAINST THREE [3] DEMOCRATIC OPPONENTS .ALONG WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DEMOCRATS BEING IN THE MAJORITY . WHERE AS WITH ALL OF THIS PROFESSOR TURLEY WAS THE ONLY ONE TO SPEAK .ELOQUENTLY AND POWERFULLY ALL AS AN ATTORNEY AT LAW STEEPED AND DEPTH TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF THIS NATION?S LAWS THAT THE SUPREME COURT STANDS AS THE ARBITURE OF THE FINAL SAY ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL MERITS WHETHER CONSTITUTIONAL OR UNCONSTITUTIONAL .YES MR TURLEY SPOKE AS THE BREATH AND LIVE OF THE LAW ONLY HE DID NOT INVOKE ANY DEGREE OF POLITICS NOR BIAS AGAINST ONE SIDE OR THE OTHER UNLIKE THE OTHER THREE ATTORNEYS AT LAW WHOM ALL WERE CLEARLY DEMOCRATIC SUPPORTERS TO THE EXTREME . SUPPORTING POLITICS RATHER THAN THE LEGAL .LAWFUL AND CONSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE AND STATUE OF THIS NATION?S CONSTITUTION . FINALLY ANY ORDINARY MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC COULD EASILY AND CLEARLY UNDER STAND THE MERITS AND TERMS OF THE LAW WITH WHICH PROFESSOR TURLEY ARTICULATED . WORDS ARE INSUFFICIENT TO STATE AND AWARD HIS PERFORMANCE

    1. You sir, represent the most honest appreciation of Professor Turley. The credibility of your delivery stands out on this page. Bravo.

  14. You are a coward. I don’t agree with the professor, but he is a patriot and a scholar who raised valid points in the hearings. In fact, if the Democrats had engaged with him during the hearings as pro-impeachment conservative congressman Justin Amash contended on twitter today, they might have gone a long way towards strengthening their hand. Professor Turley said that the 7/25 call by Trump was anything but perfect. He also didn’t say that the Democrats don’t have a case. What he did say was that the Democrats needed to build a more substantial case. Folks need to look at what pro-impeachment conservative Congressman Justin Amash had to say on twitter today. He makes a lot of sense. If the goal is to remove Trump from office, folks need to think about what Justin Amash has to say. If the Democrats had engaged Turley during the hearings, they would have helped themselves a great deal. He could have been the president’s worse nightmare if the Dems had made him the star witness of the hearings.

    https://www.alternet.org/2019/12/conservative-pro-impeachment-congressman-explains-why-democrats-made-a-strategic-error-by-ignoring-the-major-flaws-in-gop-witness-turleys-testimony/

  15. Mr. Turley’s testimony yesterday was nothing more than nonsensical. It’s too soon? How does “too soon” relate to the constitution? I thought the purpose that he was on the panel was to bring his extensive knowledge of constitutional law to the conversation. I am no law professor, but I do not remember learning anything about timelines during my study of the constitution in high school and college.

    It seems to me that the only thing that matters is “What has happened so far, and has the testimony of a dozen witnesses who work in government provided information on the president performing multiple acts of bribery and obstruction of Congress.

    Go back to your classroom, and never, ever testify in any serious matter again.

    1. Your clear lack of ability to correctly grasp anything that was said by Professr Turley is not only embarrasing but also helps show the many independents in this country that they are right to run far and fast from the left. Thanks for that

  16. Has anybody ever seen Nathan Lane and this man in the same room? Surely they are the same person, I suspect that this is just a sophisticated comedy Act. After all, no serious law professor could be such a self-promoting narcissist.

  17. Jonathan Turley is a joke. Words cant describe how twisted his brain is from his reading law. He is a non sensical legal person who is incomprehensible, dull as mud, and rendering false reality. A sparsity of evidence? Rump blocked subpeonas so we could not get to mulvaney etc but the evidence is overwhelming against rump. Legalness has shrunk and distorted Turley’s brain. He is what is wrong with law professors and the legal world. Turley gave testimony which ignored facts and disrespected and assaulted the vital impeachment of a criminal president.

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