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Faculty

Stephen M. Rich

Stephen M. Rich

Professor of Law

Last Updated: Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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Telephone: (213) 740-9537
Fax: 213-740-5502
699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA Room: 310
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Stephen Rich is a Professor of Law at the USC’s Gould School of Law (“USC Gould”), where he teaches courses in employment discrimination law, constitutional equality law, and civil procedure. 

Rich is an expert in the field of antidiscrimination law. His work blends statutory and constitutional analysis with contemporary research in sociology and social psychology in order to analyze familiar problems concerning social injustice, affirmative action, and the practical limitations of antidiscrimination law’s enforcement from new perspectives. His representative articles in this field include Inferred Classifications, 99 Virginia Law Review 1525 (2013), in which he warns that the Supreme Court’s practice of inferring racial classifications from the form and practical effect of governmental action threatens race neutral affirmative action programs designed to promote racial equality regardless whether the government acted with a discriminatory purpose, and Against Prejudice, 80 George Washington Law Review 1 (2011), in which he argues that social psychology’s concept of a “new” prejudice, which rejects the simple equation of prejudice with malice, offers insufficient guidance when antidiscrimination law confronts forms of discrimination that masquerade as legal compliance and cannot be attributed to prejudicial motivations. In more recent publications, Rich has addressed fundamental issues of statutory interpretation. For example, he has criticized the Supreme Court’s use of textualist methods to disrupt continuity between its past and present decisions in the field of employment discrimination law, and he has argued against the convergence of constitutional and statutory legal standards in order to permit the government to explore different approaches to addressing the persistent problem of racial inequality.  In his most recent work, forthcoming in Southern California Law Review, Rich argues that the law’s current understanding of diversity in education and employment underserves the goal of equal opportunity, and he proposes a new vision of diversity that would apply beyond the limited context of traditional affirmative action programs.      

Prior to joining the faculty of USC Gould, Rich practiced law at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, where he litigated a variety of high profile matters concerning topics such as freedom of speech, securities fraud, trademark infringement, and the right to counsel. Rich entered private practice after having served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Betty B. Fletcher on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He received his JD from Yale Law School, and he received his MA and BA in African American Studies concurrently from Yale University. He won prizes for his senior essay and master's thesis, both of which concentrated on issues of intellectual history and literary theory, and he was awarded the A. Bartlett Giammati Fellowship by the university.  In between his two stays at Yale, Rich won a Fullbright Scholarship to study music in Fes, Morocco. Returning to the United States reaffirmed his commitment to issues of social justice and equality. While at Yale Law School, Rich was an Olin Fellow and after graduation performed research on issues of race and political equality as a recipient of Harvard Law School’s Reginald Lewis Fellowship. At USC Gould, Rich has continued to pursue his interests in educational and workplace diversity, political and social equality, and procedural fairness. He was the law school’s first junior faculty member to receive the prestigious William A Rutter Distinguished Teaching Award.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "What Diversity Contributes to Equal Opportunity," Southern California Law Review (forthcoming 2015). - (SSRN)
  • “A Matter of Perspective: Textualism, Stare Decisis, and Federal Employment Discrimination Law,” 87 Southern California Law Review 1197 (2014). - (Hein)
  • “One Law of Race,” 100 Iowa Law Review 201 (2014). - (Hein) - (SSRN)
  • “Inferred Classifications,” 99 Virginia Law Review 1525 (2013). - (Hein) - (SSRN)
  • "Against Prejudice," 80 George Washington Law Review 1 (2011). - (Hein)

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

HollywoodLife
June 14, 2017
Re: Daria Roithmayr

Daria Roithmayr was interviewed about the possible legal implications if President Donald Trump obstructed justice. “The probe has widened from Russian interference with US elections to possible obstruction of justice by President Trump,” Roithmayr explained. “The FBI frequently widens its investigation when it uncovers potential evidence of additional wrongdoing. That’s what has happened here. Mueller’s investigators are interviewing witnesses inside and outside the government in connection with Trump’s actions with regard to Comey and others in connection with the Russian inquiry. Mueller will make a set of findings about whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice.”

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP

Emily Ryo
April, 2017

“The Promise of a Subject-Centered Approach to Understanding Immigration Noncompliance.” Journal on Migration and Human Security 5 (2017): 285.

Abby K. Wood
April, 2017

“Measuring the Information Benefit of Campaign Finance Disclosure,” Southern California Law and Social Science (SoCLASS) Forum, Claremont-McKenna College, Claremont, CA.

Emily Ryo
April, 2017

2017 recipient of the Andrew Carnegie fellowship, Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program.