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John Copeland Nagle

John N. Matthews Professor of Law
University of Notre Dame
Law School
Notre Dame, IN 46556

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  • 1986 University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan J.D. cum laude, 1986. Graduated with honors.
  • 1982 Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana B.A. with High Distinction, Political Science and Environmental Science.


John Copeland Nagle was named the John N. Matthews Professor in 2005. He joined the law faculty as an associate professor of law in 1998 and became a full professor in 2001. He was the law school's inaugural Associate Dean for Faculty Research from 2004 to 2007.

Professor Nagle is the co-author of casebooks on “Property Law” and "The Law of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management," and of a forthcoming environmental law casebook. His book "Law's Environment: How Environmental Law Affects the Environment," will be published by Yale University Press in 2008. He is also writing a book comparing environmental pollution, cultural pollution, and other kinds of "pollution." His other writings have explored such topics as the relationship between religion and environmental law, the scope of congressional power to protect endangered species, alternative approaches to campaign finance reform, and the competing roles of Congress and the courts in correcting statutory mistakes. His articles on environmental law, statutory interpretation, and election law have been published in journals such as the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the New York University Law Review.

Professor Nagle teaches a number of courses related to environmental law, legislation, and property. In 2002, he received a Distinguished Lectureship award from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to teach environmental law and property law at the Tsinghua University Law School in Beijing. He has received another Fulbright award to teach environmental law at Fudan University in Shanghai during the spring of 2008. Professor Nagle has lectured on environmental, legislation, and property issues at numerous forums in the United States, Canada, China, and Hungary.

Prior to joining the Notre Dame faculty, Professor Nagle was an associate professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law from 1994 through 1998. He also worked in the United States Department of Justice, first as an attorney in the Office of Legal Counsel where he advised other executive branch agencies on a variety of constitutional and statutory issues, and later as a trial attorney conducting environmental litigation. Professor Nagle served as a law clerk to Judge Deanell Reece Tacha of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, and he was a scientific assistant in the Energy and Environmental Systems Division of Argonne National Laboratory. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the University of Michigan Law School.

Professor Nagle has participated in numerous activities outside of the law school. He has served as a member of the executive committee of the Section on Legislation of the American Association of Law Schools, and as a vice chair on the Endangered Species Committee of the American Bar Association's environmental section. He helps organize the annual meeting of the Law Professors’ Christian Fellowship. He has served as an elder in the Presbyterian church and is an active member of the South Bend Christian Reformed Church. He is the faculty adviser for the Christian Law Students, the Journal on Legislation, and Young Life.

His wife Lisa is involved in various educational activities involving China, while his two young daughters Laura and Julia learned more Chinese language than Professor Nagle did while living in Beijing.

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