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Delaware Law names next faculty Constitutional Law fellow


Distinguished Professor John G. Culhane was named Widener University Delaware Law School’s ninth H. Albert Young Fellow in Constitutional Law during a special event held Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the Hotel duPont.

Culhane will hold the fellowship through the middle of 2017.

The announcement was made at the H. Albert Young Distinguished Lecture in Constitutional Law, a biennial event that marks the culmination of the fellowship holder’s experience. Outgoing H. Albert Young Fellow in Constitutional Law David R. Hodas, a professor noted for his work in environmental law, gave the lecture “The Laws of Science and Constitutional Law.” It reflected his research into questions about government decisions, and whether those that ignore science and scientific fact are, in fact, unconstitutional.

The H. Albert Young Fellowship in Constitutional Law was endowed in 1998 by the Young Foundation of Wilmington, Del. to honor the memory of the late H. Albert Young, a highly respected lawyer and former Delaware attorney general known for his unwavering dedication to upholding justice even in unpopular cases. His most famous role came in the aftermath of the Brown v. Board of Education decision when, in the face of tremendous opposition, he insisted the ruling be immediately enforced in Delaware.

Culhane joined the Delaware Law faculty in 1987. He is a nationally known expert in the legal rights of same-sex couples, and also specializes in torts and public health legal issues. He co-directs the school’s Family Health Law & Policy Institute. Culhane is a contributing writer to Slate magazine and is co-author of the “Same-Sex Legal Kit for Dummies.” More recently, he has written for Politico Magazine on issues relating to the constitutional recognition of same-sex marriages, and the continued opposition to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the marriage cases. He contributed to “Reconsidering Law and Policy Debates: A Public Health Perspective” and has written more than three dozen law review articles on a wide range of topics, including compensation of victims of mass disasters and the public health implications of sports-related concussions.

Culhane has won the school Outstanding Faculty Award three times, is on the advisory board of Equality Delaware and the board of Women’s Way. He holds a law degree from Fordham University School of Law. He is married to David Girasole and they live in Philadelphia with their two daughters.

He plans to use the fellowship to examine the tension between anti-discrimination laws and the right to freedom of religion. He will develop the argument that a fair accommodation of the anti-discrimination imperative requires businesses to serve the LGBT community on the same terms as other customers, even if doing so offends their strongly held religious beliefs. He will explain why such a requirement is a necessary part of a comprehensive anti-subordination imperative that threads its way through recent Supreme Court decisions.

“Receiving the Young Fellowship is one of the great highlights of my career,” Culhane said. “I’m pleased to be on the same list of recipients as some of my most influential and esteemed colleagues, and I look forward to using the support the fellowship affords me to develop a work of scholarship that I hope will be worthy of the Young family’s endorsement of my selection.”

His headshot is available here. 

Widener University is a metropolitan university that connects curricula to social issues through civic engagement. Dynamic teaching, active scholarship, personal attention, applied leadership, and experiential learning are key components of the Widener experience.  Its Delaware Law School is the First State’s only law school, providing juris doctor, legal graduate and paralegal degree programs with an emphasis on developing legal professionals who reflect the Delaware Way and its traditions of civility, integrity and mutual respect. The school offers signature programs in corporate and business law, environmental law, family health law and policy, and trial advocacy. Widener University is proud to be tobacco free. Visit for more information.