Peter Edelman is the Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Law and Public Policy at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches constitutional law and poverty law and is faculty director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality. On the faculty since 1982, he has also served in all three branches of government. During President Clinton’s first term he was Counselor to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala and then Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
Professor Edelman has been Associate Dean of the Law Center, Director of the New York State Division for Youth, and Vice President of the University of Massachusetts. He was a Legislative Assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Issues Director for Senator Edward Kennedy’s 1980 Presidential campaign. Prior to working for RFK, he clerked for Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg and before that for Judge Henry J. Friendly on the U.S. Court of Appeals. He also served as Special Assistant to U.S. Assistant Attorney General John Douglas, and was a partner in the law firm of Foley & Lardner.
Mr. Edelman’s current book is Not a Crime to Be Poor: The Criminalization of Poverty in America, for which he received the 38th Annual RFK Book Award. Previously he wrote So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America, and prior to that he wrote Searching for America’s Heart: RFK and the Renewal of Hope. His article in the Atlantic Monthly, entitled “The Worst Thing Bill Clinton Has Done,” received the Harry Chapin Media Award.
Professor Edelman has chaired and been a board member of numerous organizations and foundations. He is currently chair of the District of Columbia Access to Justice Commission and board chair of the National Center for Youth Law. He previously chaired the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, the Public Welfare Foundation, and the New Israel Fund.
Mr. Edelman has been a United States-Japan Leadership Program Fellow, was the J. Skelly Wright Memorial Fellow at Yale Law School, and has received numerous honors and awards for his work, including the William J. Brennan, Jr. Award from the D.C. Bar in 2005. He grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School.