Scott Gaylord, Professor of Law

(336) 279-9331 / sgaylord@elon.edu

Elon Law professor Scott GaylordConstitutional 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.

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. 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.

Public Commentary & Analysis Highlights

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












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 (forthcoming 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)


Scott Gaylord engages Constitutionality of compelled physician speech in Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics and an amicus brief in Walker-McGill v. Stuart

Scott Gaylord analyzes Supreme Court case for National Constitution Center

"Elon Law Now" commentary: Can the government control what your license plate says?

Scott Gaylord engages U.S. Supreme Court case Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc.

Scott Gaylord engages landmark Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. Supreme Court case

Scott Gaylord examines Greece v. Galloway Supreme Court case in Constitution Center article

Scott Gaylord provides analysis of legal issues in Greece v. Galloway

Scott Gaylord examines First Amendment rights regarding freedoms of speech and religion

Scott Gaylord engages Town of Greece v. Galloway

Scott Gaylord authors column for New York Times examining the changing power dynamics between state and federal government

Scott Gaylord provides analysis of abortion laws for Minnesota Public Radio and The Washington Post 

Scott Gaylord questions need for public financing of judicial elections

Scott Gaylord named Jennings Professor

Scott Gaylord challenges health care mandate in amicus briefs for federal courts

Elon Law Professor Scott Gaylord provides analysis of Supreme Court gay marriage cases on WPTF radio

High Point Enterprise article on elective Bible study in NC schools features analysis by Scott Gaylord

Scott Gaylord and Tom Molony publish on mandatory speech-and-display requirements

Scott Gaylord publishes op-eds on judicial recusal

Scott Gaylord publishes on judicial selection in Michigan State Law Review

Scott Gaylord analyzes judicial selection on NPR

Scott Gaylord presents on Constitutional Law matters at three law schools

Elon Law scholars engage national debate on ultrasound laws

Scott Gaylord presents at Pepperdine University School of Law

Scott Gaylord publishes op-ed on judicial selection in News & Observer

Scott Gaylord publishes on judicial selection in North Carolina Law Review’s Addendum series

Scott Gaylord authors guest column on government speech for Jurist

Scott Gaylord analyzes Constitutional Law issues in news interviews across the country

Scott Gaylord presents on sectarian legislative prayer and judicial selection

Scott Gaylord and Andy Haile publish on e-commerce and Constituional Law in the North Carolina Law Review

Scott Gaylord’s article on sectarian legislative prayer published in the University of Cincinnati Law Review

Scott Gaylord provides analysis on recent ruling about prayer in public hearings

Scott Gaylord’s research on judicial selection and the state Supreme Court featured in regional, state and national publications

Scott Gaylord presents on constitutional law at Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Scott Gaylord featured in North Carolina Lawyers Weekly

Scott Gaylord paper on the N.C. Supreme Court published by The Federalist Society

Scott Gaylord presents on judicial selection before Judicial Independence Committee

News and Record features Scott Gaylord in article exploring how voters can make informed decisions in judicial elections

Scott Gaylord provides legal context for viability of prayer at Greensboro City Council meetings

Scott Gaylord analyzes Supreme Court arguments on California “Sexting” case with Fox 8 News

Elon Law debate on judicial selection featured in NC State Bar Journal

Scott Gaylord analyzes Forsyth County appeal on sectarian prayer at board meetings with Fox 8 News and WFMY News 2

Elon Law professor Scott Gaylord evaluates free speech Facebook ruling with WFMY News 2 and Fox 8 News

Judicial selection takes center stage at Elon Law debate

Elon Law faculty at the forefront of judicial selection debate

Seven members of Elon Law’s faculty present at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools 2009 Conference

Elon Law professors Steve Friedland, Scott Gaylord, and Howard Katz provide insight into Supreme Court nomination hearings through N.C. media

Elon Law professors Gaylord, Haile, and Woodlief call for judicial election reforms following Supreme Court ruling

Faculty panel contemplates morality and business