Hofstra Law Faculty

Eric Lane

Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service


LLM, 1979, New York Univ (NYU); JD, 1970, Fordham University; MA, 1966, SUNY Stony Brook Univ; BA, 1965, Brown Univ


Eric Lane is the Eric J. Schmertz Distinguished Professor of Public Law and Public Service at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University. After serving as Interim Dean from March 1-December 31, 2012, he was named Dean of Hofstra Law on January 1, 2013, and served in that position until the end of 2016. He joined the Hofstra Law faculty in 1976 and has taught courses in law and literature, constitutional law, statutory interpretation and the legislative process.

Professor Lane is well-known beyond the Hofstra campus for his work in public service. He has previously served as the senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. In that role, he wrote the report (with Meg Barnette) A Report Card on New York's Civic Literacy, which was published in April 2011.

From 2002 to 2005, Professor Lane was special counsel to the speaker of the New York City Council. Prior roles include his service as counsel to the New York Commission on Constitutional Revision, which was created in 1993. In 1990 he chaired the New York City Task Force on Charter Implementation, and from 1986 to 1989, he served as executive director/counsel to the historic New York City Charter Revision Commission, which was responsible for the most substantial changes in the institutions and processes of New York City government since its creation. Professor Lane also spent six years (1981-1986) as chief counsel to the New York State Senate Minority.

Professor Lane is the author of three books. His trade book (with Michael Oreskes, senior managing editor of the Associated Press) The Genius of America: How the Constitution Saved Our Country and Why It Can Again received favorable reviews throughout the country, and his two textbooks (with the Honorable Abner A. Mikva) on the legislative process and statutory interpretation have been used in law schools nationally. He is also the author of often cited articles on the legal framework for governmental decision making.

Professor Lane serves as an Honorary Trustee of the Vera Institute of Justice and has served as a board member of the Columbia Land Conservancy. He is also a member of the American Law Institute and the American Bar Foundation.

Curriculum Vitae



THE GENIUS OF AMERICA: How the Constitution Saved Our Country and Why It Can Again, with Michael Oreskes, Bloomsbury USA (2007).


THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS, with Abner J. Mikva, Aspen Law & and Business (1st ed. 1995, 2nd ed. 2002) (3rd ed. 2009).

COUNCIL MEMBERS' GUIDE TO NEW YORK CITY GOVERNMENT, editor, Baruch College School of Public Affairs (2001).

Articles and Reports

On Madison, Muslims, and the New York City Police Department, 40 HOFSTRA L. REV. 689 (2012).

A Report Card on New York's Civic Literacy (with Meg Barnette), Brennan Center for Justice (2011).

The Real Politik of Writing and Reading Statutes, 76 BROOK. L. REV. 967 (2011).

Civil Ignorance and the Rise of the President King, 10 WHITE HOUSE STUDIES 163 (Fall 2010).

More Voice for the People? (with Laura Seago), 12 THE GOVERNMENT, LAW AND POLICY JOURNAL, NYSBA 40 (2010).

Too Big a Canon in the President's Arsenal: Another Look at United States v. Nixon (with Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr. and Emily Berman), 17 GEO. MASON L. REV. 737 (2010).

Albany's Dysfunction Denies Due Process (with Laura Seago), 30 PACE L. REV. 965 (2010).

May It Please the Country (with Aziz Huq), DEMOCRACY: A JOURNAL OF IDEAS (Summer 2009).

America 101, DEMOCRACY: A JOURNAL OF IDEAS (Fall 2008).

Are We Still Americans, 36 HOFSTRA L. REV. 13 (2007).

The Impact of Term Limits on Lawmaking in the City of New York, 3 ELECTION LAW JOURNAL 670 (2004).

Due Process in Problem Solving Courts, 30 FORDHAM UR B. L. J. 955 (2003) (invited symposium).

The Muzak of Justice Scalia's Revolutionary Call to Read Unclear Statutes Narrowly, 53 SMU L. REV. 121 (2000) (with Abner J. Mikva) (invited symposium).

How to Read a Statute in New York: A Reply to Judge Kaye and More, 28 HOFSTRA L. REV. 85 (1999).

Men Are Not Angels: The Realpolitik of Direct Democracy, 34 WILLAMETTE L. REV. 579 (1998) (invited symposium).

The Policy and Politics of Charter Making: The Story of New York City's 1989 Charter, 42 N.Y.L. SCH. L. REV. 2 (1998, with Frederick A. O. Schwarz) (invited symposium).

Albany's Travesty of Democracy, 7 CITY JOURNAL 48 (Spring 1997).

Legislative Process and Its Judicial Renderings: A Study in Contrast, 48 U. PITT. L. REV. 639 (1987).

Legislative Oversight of an Executive Budget Process: Impoundments in New York, 5 PACE L. REV. 211 (1985).

Human Rights Within The World Legal Order: A Reply to Sohn and McDougal, 10 HOFSTRA L. REV. 747 (1982).

Mass Killing by Governments: Lawful in the World Legal Order? 12 N.Y.U. J. INT'L L. & POL. 199 (1979) (with published responses from Louis Sohn and Myres McDougal appearing in 9 HOFSTRA L. REV.).

Political Surveillance in New York - An Administrative Challenge to Democratic Values, 55 U. DET. J. URB. L. 1079 (1977-78).

Demanding Human Rights: A Change in the World Legal Order, 6 HOFSTRA L. REV. 269 (1978).