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An Interview with Orin S. Kerr, Scholar-in-Residence

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In June, Orin S. Kerr was named the Scholar-in-Residence for the Daniel and Florence Guggenheim Foundation Program on Demography, Technology, and Criminal Justice at the Library of Congress.  As someone who is interested in law and technology, I have really enjoyed serving on the advisory board for the Guggenheim Foundation Program, which Cynthia Jordan coordinates.  Orin is also a blogger, writing for The Volokh Conspiracy (one of  the blogs in our Legal Blawg Archive).

Describe your background. A headshot of Orin S. Kerr.

I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware. I was educated on both coasts and have been living in the Washington, DC area since 1998.   I’ve been a law professor at George Washington University since 2001. 

What is your academic/professional history?

I started in mechanical engineering.  I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford.   After Stanford I left engineering and went to Harvard Law School.  Since law school, I’ve been a law clerk, a prosecutor, and a law professor.  I was recently appointed Fred C. Stevenson Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I teach and write about the law of police investigations.  My particular interest is in how police investigations and privacy laws change when technology changes. I write a lot about the role of computers and the Internet in changing how we approach privacy in criminal investigations.   Think “Law & Order” meets cyberspace.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

It seemed like a great opportunity to explore important questions of privacy law using the wonderful resources of the Law Library of Congress.  As soon as I saw the notice about the position, I knew I wanted to apply. 

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Library of Congress?

Thomas Jefferson’s personal library formed the basis of the collection after the original collection was burned inside the Capitol Building by the British in the War of 1812.  

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I love beer.  The hoppier, the better.

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