Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus
Robert F. Williams
Rutgers Law School
217 N 5th St
Camden, NJ 08102

Robert F. Williams is an expert in state constitutional law and was the Director of the Center for State Constitutional Studies at Rutgers. He’s authored numerous articles and books, participated in a wide range of litigation and lectured to state judges and lawyers on subjects involving state constitutional law.

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Courses Taught
  • Expertise

Professor Williams earned his B.A. cum laude in 1967 at Florida State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi.  He earned his J.D. with honors in 1969 at the University of Florida School of Law, where he was executive editor of the law review and a member of the Order of the Coif. Professor Williams also earned his LL.M. in 1971 at New York University School of Law, where he was a Ford Foundation Urban Law Fellow. In addition, he has been a Chamberlain Fellow at Columbia University Law School, where he earned an LL.M. in 1980. He is admitted to the bars of Florida, New Jersey and the United States Supreme Court. He has been the legislative advocacy director and executive director of Florida Legal Services, Inc.; an International Legal Center Fellow in Kabul, Afghanistan; and a reporter for the Florida Law Revision Council’s Landlord-Tenant Law Project. In addition, he served as a legislative assistant to Florida Senator D. Robert Graham; a staff attorney with Legal Services of Greater Miami, Inc.; and a law clerk to Chief Judge T. Frank Hobson of the Florida Second District Court of Appeals. His books include The Law of American State Constitutions (2009); The New Jersey State Constitution (2d Ed. 2012) and State Constitutional Law, Cases and Materials (Fourth Edition, 2006). He is the coauthor, with Hetzel and Libonati, of Legislative Law and Statutory Interpretation:  Cases and Materials (Fourth Ed. 2008).  Among his articles are:  “Statutes as Sources of Law beyond Their Terms in Common Law Cases” (George Washington Law Review), “State Constitutional Law Processes” (William and Mary Law Review), “In the Supreme Court’s Shadow:  Legitimacy of State Rejection of Supreme Court Reasoning and Result” (South Carolina Law Review), “Equality Guarantees in State Constitutional Law” (Texas Law Review), “The State Constitutions of the Founding Decade:  Pennsylvania’s Radical 1776 Constitution and its Influence on American Constitutionalism” (Temple Law Review), and “In the Glare of the Supreme Court:  Continuing Methodology and Legitimacy Problems in Independent State Constitutional Rights Adjudication” (Notre Dame Law Review). 



Books:State Constitutional Law: Cases and Materials (Charlottesville, Va.: Lexis Law Publishing, 3d Ed. 1999);The New Jersey State Constitution: A Reference Guide (revised ed., Trenton, N.J.: Rutgers University Press 1997);Legislative Law and Statutory Interpretation, with O. Hetzel and M. Libonati: (Charlottesville, Va.: Michie Co., 3d. Ed. 2001).Articles and Chapters:Comparative Subnational Constitutional Law: South Africa's Provincial Constitutional Experiments, 40 South Texas L. Rev. 625 (1999)New York's State Constitution in National Context, 14 Touro L. Rev. 611 (1998).State Constitution's Role-A Symposium, 1 Delaware L. Rev. 193 (1998) (moderator).The Florida Constitution Revision Commission in Historic and National Context, 50 Fla. L. Rev. 215 (1998).Comparative State Constitutional Law: A Research Agenda on Subnational Constitutions in Federal Systems, in Law In Motion (Roger Blanpain, ed. 1997), p. 339. (June1997).New Jersey's State Constitutions: From Ridicule to Respect, 185 New Jersey Lawyer 8 (June 1997).In The Glare of The Supreme Court: Continuing Methodology and Legitimacy Problems in Independent State Constitutional Rights Adjudication, 72 Notre Dame L. Rev.1015 (1997).Two Visions of State Constitutional Rights Protections, 7 Seton Hall Const. L.J. 833 (1997).Are State Constitutional Conventions Things of the Past? The Increasing Role of the Constitutional Commission in State Constitutional Change, 1 Hofstra Law & Policy Symposium 1 (1996).Comment: On the Importance of a Theory of Legislative Power Under State Constitutions, 15 Quinnipiac Law Review 57 (1995).The New Jersey Equal Rights Amendment: A Documentary Sourcebook 16 Rutgers Women's Rights Law Reporter 69 (Winter 1994).Introduction: The Stories of State Constitutional Law, 18 Nova Law Review 715 (1994).The Claus von Bulow Case, Chutzpah and State Constitutional Law? 26 Connecticut Law Review 711 (1994).The New Judicial Federalism: The States' Lead in Rights Protection, 65 Journal of State Government 50 (April-June 1992) (Coauthored).New York's State Constitution in Comparative Context and The Role of The Constitutional Commission in State Constitutional Change in The New York State Constitution: A Briefing Book (Gerald Benjamin, ed., 1994) p. 17, 73; and in Decision 1997: Constitutional Change In New York (Gerald Benjamin and Henrik N. Dullea, eds., 1997), p. 29, 45.State Constitutionalism: Completing the Interdisciplinary Study of Constitutional Law and Political Theory, 22 Perspectives in Political Science 110 (Summer 1993).A 'Row of Shadows': Pennsylvania's Misguided Lockstep Approach to State Constitutional Equality Doctrine, 3 Widener Journal of Public Law 343 (1993).Class Actions in New Jersey State Courts, 24 Rutgers Law Journal 737 (1993) (coauthored).Foreword, A Research Agenda in State Constitutional Law, 66 Temple Law Review 1145 (1993).Review Essay: A Generation of Change in Florida State Constitutional Law, 5 St. Thomas Law Review 133 (1992).Foreword: The Importance of an Independent State Constitutional Equality Doctrine in School Finance Cases and Beyond, 24 Connecticut Law Review 675 (1992).Foreword: New York Constitutional Law-The State and Nation Watch, 8 Touro Law Review 1 (1992).State Constitutional Law: Teaching and Scholarship, 41 Journal of Legal Education 243 (1991).Marking The End of Pennsylvania's Revolutionary Constitutional Experiment, 139 Pittsburgh Legal Journal 45 (January, 1991).Selected Bibliography on State Constitutional Law, 1980-1989, 20 Rutgers Law Journal 1093 (1989) (coauthored).'Government Structure Under State Constitutions,' in State Constitutions in the Federal System (Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1989), p. 37.The State Constitutions of the Founding Decade: Pennsylvania's Radical 1776 Constitution and Its Influences on American Constitutionalism, 62 Temple Law Review 541 (1989).Evolving State Legislative and Executive Power in the Founding Decade, 496 Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 43 (1988).'Experience Must be Our Only Guide': The State Constitutional Experience of the Framers of the Federal Constitution, 15 Hast. Const. Law Quarterly 403 (1988).The Influences of Pennsylvania's 1776 Constitution on American Constitutionalism During the Founding Decade, 112 Pa. Mag. of Hist. & Biog. 25 (1988).New Jersey's Constitution of 1776: 'We Shall have a Republic established by the end of the week,' New Jersey Lawyer 21 (Summer, 1987).Methodology Problems in Enforcing State Constitutional Rights, 3 Ga. St. U. Law Review 143 (1986-1987).Farmworkers' Organizational and Collective Bargaining Rights in New Jersey: Implementing Self-Executing State Constitutional Rights, 18 Rutgers Law Journal 729 (1987) (coauthored).State Constitutional Limits on Legislative Procedure: Problems of Judicial Enforcement and Legislative Compliance, 17 Publius: The Journal of Federalism 91 (1987), reprinted in 48 U. Pitt. Law Review 797 (1987).The State Constitutional Roots of the 'Separate But Equal' Doctrine: Roberts v. City of Boston, 17 Rutgers Law Journal 537 (1986) (coauthored).Equality Guarantees in State Constitutional Law, 63 Texas Law Review 1195 (1985).Equality and State Constitutional Law, Chapter 3 in Developments in State Constitutional Law: The Williamsburg Conference (B. McGraw ed. 1985), and Chapter 2 in Practicing Law Institute, Recent Developments in State Constitutional Law (P. Bamberger ed. 1985).Introduction: State Constitutional Law in Ohio and the Nation, 16 U. Toledo Law Review 391 (1985).Special Project: The Constitutionality of the Death Penalty in New Jersey, 15 Rutgers Law Journal 261 (1984) (coauthored with a professor and three students).In the Supreme Court's Shadow: Legitimacy of State Rejection of Supreme Court Reasoning and Result, 35 South Carolina Law Review 353 (1984).Statutory Law in Legal Education: Still Second Class After All These Years, 35 Mercer Law Review 803 (1984).State Constitutional Law Processes, 24 William and Mary Law Review 169 (1983).The Anatomy of Law Reform: Dissecting a Decade of Change in Florida in Forma Pauperis Law, 12 Stetson Law Review 363 (1983).Statutes as Sources of Law Beyond Their Terms in Common-Law Cases, 50 George Washington Law Review 554 (1982).Legal Education in Afghanistan Prior to the Soviet Occupation, 6 Suffolk Transnational Law Review 247 (1982).The Tax Injunction Act and Judicial Restraint: Property Tax Litigation in Federal Courts, 12 Rutgers Law Journal 653 (1981).Interpretation of Statutes: A Comparative View for Afghanistan (1975) (Translated and published in Persian by the Afghan Judicial Training Center).The Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, 1 Florida State University Law Review 555 (1973) (coauthored).

Courses Taught
  • Statutory Interpretation & Legislation
  • Constitutional Law