Elise C. Boddie is a Professor of Law, Henry Rutgers Professor, and Judge Robert L. Carter Scholar. In 2020, she was named the founding Newark Director of Rutgers University’s Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, which at the time of its launch was described by a senior university official as “one of the most far-reaching intellectual and institutional projects Rutgers has undertaken.” Boddie's scholarship explores the regulation and production of race in spatial contexts and dynamic systems that perpetuate racial inequality. She teaches constitutional law, state and local government law, and civil rights.
In 2012, the Law and Society Association awarded Boddie the John Hope Franklin Prize for her article, “Racial Territoriality,” which appeared in the UCLA Law Review. She also has published in the Columbia Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, the Harvard Law Review Forum, the UCLA Law Review Discourse, and the Iowa Law Review Bulletin. Her commentary has been published multiple times in the New York Times and SCOTUSblog, and in the Washington Post, the TakeCareBlog, Salon, Slate, and the Huffington Post, among other news outlets. She has appeared in national and international news programs. Most recently, she appeared in the BBC documentary, "The Black American Fight for Freedom," which was released in the U.S. in June 2021.
Professor Boddie’s work bridges diverse disciplines and practices of scholarship, teaching, community, and service and is widely cited and discussed in both academic and non-academic circles. She is a frequent public speaker and has lectured to audiences around the country. As the founder and director of The Inclusion Project at Rutgers Law School http://theinclusionproject.rutgers.edu/, she is engaged with communities, students, faith leaders, educators, and researchers in a multisector initiative to build equitable education systems in New Jersey public schools. She is also a founding trustee of the New Jersey Coalition for Diverse and Inclusive Schools. In 2020, the Urban League of Essex County gave Boddie its Whitney M. Young, Jr. award in recognition of her efforts to create opportunity in low-income communities. She was elected to the American Law Institute in 2017 and as an American Bar Foundation Fellow in 2019. In 2016, Rutgers University President Robert Barchi appointed her a Henry Rutgers Professor in recognition of her "high quality scholarship, teaching, and service." In 2021, President Biden appointed Boddie to the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States. At the invitation of the American Law Institute, she participated during the spring of 2022 in a small bipartisan group that was convened to propose reforms to the federal Electoral Count Act.
Before joining the Rutgers faculty, Boddie was the director of litigation for the NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and supervised its nationwide litigation program, including its advocacy in several major U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate cases involving voting rights, affirmative action, and fair housing. From 1999-2005, she litigated affirmative action, employment, economic justice, and school desegregation cases in federal district courts and in federal courts of appeals. During this period, she served as LDF’s Director of Education and as an Associate Director of Litigation. She has served in leadership positions on the national board of the American Constitution Society and also serves on the board of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. During the 2016 presidential campaign, she was the Coordinator for Hillary Clinton's Civil Rights & Racial Justice Working Policy Group,
Boddie received her J.D. cum laude from Harvard Law School and her B.A. cum laude from Yale. She also holds a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. Following a clerkship for Judge Robert L. Carter in the Southern District of New York, Boddie litigated at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in its New York office as the first recipient of the Fried, Frank/LDF fellowship. Boddie has also taught at New York Law School and at Fordham Law School as a visiting assistant professor.