Scott Gaylord

Maurice Jennings Emerging Scholar and Professor of Law
Elon University School of Law 201A
2005 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-9331


Gaylord received a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Notre Dame Law School, where he was a member of the law review and received the Dean Joseph O’Meara Award as salutatorian.

Employment History

Before joining Elon, Gaylord practiced with the Charlotte, N.C. firm of Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson. During seven years with the firm, Gaylord handled complex civil and commercial litigation involving breach of contract, unfair trade practice, bankruptcy and appellate work in both state and federal courts. He served as a law clerk to Judge Edith Jones on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Houston from 1999 to 2000. Gaylord began his teaching career in 1990 as a teaching fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received the Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Current Projects

Constitutional Law scholar Scott Gaylord's most recent scholarship examines the scope of First Amendment speech and religion under the Roberts Court. His article, "For-Profit Corporations, Free Exercise, and the HHS Mandate," which is forthcoming in the Washington University Law Review, explores the free exercise rights of corporations under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). Based on this research, he was asked to write amicus briefs for cases in the Third, Sixth, Seventh and Tenth Circuits of the United States Court of Appeals challenging the requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) that most employers must provide employees with health insurance that covers all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures.

Professor Gaylord’s research also explores jurisprudence at the intersection of the Constitution’s Free Speech and Establishment Clauses, exploring the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s newly minted government speech doctrine on legislative prayer and other forms of facially religious government speech. In his current research, which is the basis for an amicus brief to the United States Supreme Court in City of Greece v. Galloway on behalf of several cities across the country, Gaylord contends that certain prayer policies are constitutional under the Court’s prior holdings in Marsh v. Chambers and Pleasant Grove City v. Summum even when particular prayers contain sectarian references.

Gaylord’s research also engages the ongoing national debate across dozens of states about the best method for selecting judges. Through reviews of the interaction between recent First Amendment decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court relating to judicial independence and state laws regulating judicial selection, Gaylord has defended the public election of judges against challenges made by supporters of “merit” selection systems.



For-Profit Corporations, Free Exercise, and the HHS Mandate, 91 Washington University Law Review (forthcoming)

“Kill the Sea Turtles” and Other Things You Can’t Make the Government Say, 71 Washington & Lee Law Review (March 2014)

Casey and a Woman’s Right to Know: Ultrasounds, Informed Consent, and the First Amendment, 45 Connecticut Law Review 595 (2013) (with T. Molony)

Unconventional Wisdom: The Roberts Court’s Proper Support of Judicial Elections, 2011 Michigan State Law Review 1521 (2012)

Judicial Independence Revisited: Judicial Elections and Missouri Plan Challenges, 90 North Carolina Law Review Addendum 61 (2012)

Constitutional Threats in the E-Commerce Jungle: First Amendment and Dormant Commerce Clause Limits on Amazon Laws and Use Tax Reporting Statutes, 89 North Carolina Law Review 2011 (2011) (with A. Haile)

When the Exception Becomes the Rule: Marsh and Sectarian Legislative Prayer Post-Summum, 79 University of Cincinnati Law Review 1017 (2011)

Licensing Facially Religious Government Speech: Summum’s Impact on the Free Speech and Establishment Clauses, 8 First Amendment Law Review 315 (2010)


National Constitution Center
Podcast: "The Confederate license plate debate"
March 27, 2015

Bloomberg Law Radio 
Interview: "High court hears license plate dispute"
March 23, 2015

The Daily Caller
Op-Ed: "The contraceptive mandate defenders’ upside-down version of religious freedom"
Feb. 11, 2014

National Review
Op-Ed: "The Supreme Court calls Obama’s bluff"
Jan. 28, 2014

New York Times
Op-Ed: "States Need to Keep Federal Power From Overstepping"
July 17, 2013

Washington Post
News commentary: "Texas abortion vote joins growing legal frenzy"
July 13, 2013

The Diane Rehm Show
Radio interview: "Fairness In State Courts: Electing Versus Appointing State Judges"
Sept. 5, 2012

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