The Yale Law Journal

Announcing Volume 132’s Emerging Scholar of the Year: Kerrel Murray

Milo Hudson
17 Mar 2023

The Yale Law Journal is thrilled to announce Volume 132’s Emerging Scholar of the Year: Kerrel Murray.

The Yale Law Journal’s Emerging Scholar of the Year Award celebrates the achievements of early-career academics who have made significant contributions to legal thought and scholarship. It seeks to promote scholarship that has the potential to drive improvements in the law and to spotlight the exceptional work of its honorees. The Emerging Scholar of the Year is selected by the Journal’s membership following an intensive, semester-long research and deliberation process.

Volume 132’s Emerging Scholar of the Year, Professor Murray, is an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, where he teaches constitutional law, election law, and race and the law.

Professor Murray’s work interrogates the interplay between law and democratic processes, the tension between majority rule and minority rights, and the question of discrimination (both in its positive and negative senses). His most recent article, published in the Harvard Law Review, examines the problem of “discriminatory taint”—when new, facially neutral laws share commonalities with old, discriminatory policies—and offers a theory for when, how, and why such unlawful predecessors can be brought to bear on present policies that might otherwise seem constitutional. In Populist Prosecutorial Nullification, published in the New York University Law Review, Professor Murray considers the phenomenon in which elected prosecutors pledge to disregard certain state laws (ranging from drug crimes to the death penalty), considering the practice from the lens of democratic legitimacy, jury nullification, and localized popular sovereignty. Professor Murray has also published a note, Good Will Hunting: How the Supreme Court’s Hunter Doctrine Can Still Shield Minorities from Political-Process Discrimination, in the Stanford Law Review.

Professor Murray is a graduate of Stanford Law School and the University of Georgia. Before joining Columbia Law School in 2021, he completed a two-year fellowship as a post-doc research associate at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Prior to that, Professor Murray was an associate at Covington & Burling and served as a fellow on the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Professor Murray served as a law clerk to then-Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and for Judge Timothy M. Tymkovich on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

The Journal is delighted to celebrate the achievements of Professor Murray. Please join us in congratulating him!