Jane Schacter’s interest in law was sparked when she was still in high school. “I took a history class that had a constitutional law section,” said Schacter. “We did a moot court on the Karen Ann Quinlan case—an early case involving the constitutional right to die. I was dispatched to the local law library to perform research and became immersed in all the questions that pertained to the case. I loved the chase aspect of the research, as well as the oral argument, and I never looked back.”
From this early experience, Schacter saw firsthand how law had the capacity to shape important public policy issues. “The path to law was set,” said Schacter, “and in college I continued my interest in the nature of lawmaking institutions by majoring in history with an emphasis in political science.” A national expert on legislative process and interpretation, constitutional law, and sexual orientation and the law, Schacter now joins the Stanford Law School faculty after her stint here as a visiting professor from the University of Wisconsin Law School last year.
Schacter received a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD from Harvard Law School. Prior to embarking on her scholarly career, Schacter was a clerk to Judge Raymond J. Pettine of the U.S. District Court in Providence, Rhode Island; a litigation associate at Hill & Barlow in Boston; and an assistant attorney general in Massachusetts. She is currently working on a book, Democracy Diminished, that challenges the idea that democracy should focus only on elections and argues for a broader concept of democratic culture.
Schacter is passionate about teaching and won several teaching awards at Wisconsin— both from the law school and from the university. “Teaching Stanford students was one of the great joys of my visit last year,” she said.