Nathaniel Persily

Nathaniel Persily, PhD

James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School
Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute
Professor, by courtesy, Political Science
Professor, by courtesy, Communication
Co-director, Cyber Policy Center
Stanford Law School
Neukom Building, Room N230
Stanford, CA 94305
650-725-9875 (voice)

Research Interests

Social media and democracy, election law, American politics, redistricting, campaign finance, voting rights, American constitutional law, public opinion, party systems


Nathaniel Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, with appointments in the departments of Political Science, Communication and FSI.  Prior to joining Stanford, Professor Persily taught at Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and as a visiting professor at Harvard, NYU, Princeton, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Melbourne. Professor Persily’s scholarship and legal practice focus on American election law or what is sometimes called the “law of democracy,” which addresses issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, redistricting, and election administration. He has served as a special master or court-appointed expert to craft congressional or legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, and New York, and as the Senior Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. In addition to dozens of articles (many of which have been cited by the Supreme Court) on the legal regulation of political parties, issues surrounding the census and redistricting process, voting rights, and campaign finance reform, Professor Persily is also coauthor of the leading election law casebook, The Law of Democracy (Foundation Press, 5th ed., 2016), with Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela Karlan, and Richard Pildes. His current work, for which he has been honored as an Andrew Carnegie Fellow and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, examines the impact of changing technology on political communication, campaigns, and election administration.   He has edited several books, including Public Opinion and Constitutional Controversy (Oxford Press, 2008); The Health Care Case: The Supreme Court’s Decision and Its Implications (Oxford Press 2013); and Solutions to Political Polarization in America (Cambridge Press, 2015).   He received a B.A. and M.A. in political science from Yale (1992); a J.D. from Stanford (1998) where he was President of the Stanford Law Review, and a Ph.D. in political science from U.C. Berkeley in 2002.  

Stanford Affiliations

Political Science