Andrew Napolitano

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Andrew Napolitano
Andrew Napolitano by Gage Skidmore (16678198985).jpg
Andrew Napolitano at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference.
Judge of the
New Jersey Superior Court
In office
Appointed by Thomas Kean
Personal details
Born Andrew Peter Napolitano[1]
(1950-06-06) June 6, 1950 (age 68)
Newark, New Jersey
Political party Pro-life libertarianism
Domestic partner James C. Sheil (d. 2013)
Alma mater Princeton University
University of Notre Dame
Occupation Judge (1987–1995)
Attorney (1975–present)
Media Personality (1998–present)
Professor of Law (1980–1981; 1989–2000; 2013–present)
Religion Roman Catholic[2]
Website [1]

Andrew Peter Napolitano (born June 6, 1950) is the Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News Channel, commenting on legal news and trials, and is a syndicated columnist whose work appears in numerous publications, such as Fox News, The Washington Times, and Reason. Having served as a New Jersey Superior Court Judge, he now teaches constitutional law as a Distinguished Professor at Brooklyn Law School. Napolitano has written nine books on constitutional, legal, and political subjects.

Early life and judicial and academic career

Napolitano was born in Newark, New Jersey. He is a graduate of Princeton University and Notre Dame Law School. He was admitted to the New Jersey State Bar Association in 1975.[3] After law school, Napolitano entered private practice as a litigator. Napolitano first taught law for a brief period in 1980–1981 at Delaware Law School (then-Widener). Napolitano sat on the New Jersey bench from 1987 to 1995, becoming the state's youngest then-sitting Superior Court judge.

As a judge, Napolitano issued several notable decisions. In State v. Barcia, Napolitano found that random DWI roadblock checkpoints were unconstitutional under both the Federal and New Jersey state constitutions, and sustained a motion to suppress drug and drug paraphernalia evidence found at such a stop.[4] In the case In re K.L.F., Napolitano found that New Jersey’s Frivolous Pleading Statute could be applied against the state as well as private litigants whose claims were frivolous.[5] In Cusseaux v. Pickett, Napolitano decided that a woman who was abused and mistreated by her husband has a civil cause of action against her abuser for the resulting battered woman syndrome.[6]

He resigned his judgeship in 1995 for private practice. He later pursued a writing, teaching, and television career. He also served as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University School of Law for 11 years from 1989–2000. Napolitano is a distinguished visiting professor at Brooklyn Law School where he teaches courses on advanced and introductory constitutional law and jurisprudence, and has begun a renewed endeavor to developing his natural law jurisprudence.

Media career

Before joining Fox as a news analyst, Napolitano was the presiding judge for the first season of Twentieth Television's syndicated court show Power of Attorney (2000–02), in which people brought small-claims disputes to a televised courtroom. Differing from similar formats, the plaintiffs and defendants were represented pro bono by famous attorneys. Napolitano departed the series after its first season.

From 2006 to 2010, Napolitano co-hosted a talk radio show on Fox News Radio with Brian Kilmeade titled Brian and the Judge. Napolitano hosted a libertarian talk show called Freedom Watch that aired daily, with new episodes on weekdays, on Fox Business Channel. Frequent guests on Freedom Watch were Congressman Ron Paul and Lew Rockwell. Napolitano has promoted the works of Friedrich Hayek and Ludwig von Mises on his program. The show originally aired once a week, every Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. on Fox News' Strategy Room.

On September 14, 2009, it became a show that aired three to four times a week. On June 12, 2010, it debuted as a weekly show on Fox Business. The show was one of several programs dropped in February 2012, when FBN revamped its entire primetime lineup.[7]

Napolitano regularly substituted for television host Glenn Beck when Beck was absent from his program. After Beck announced that he would be leaving Fox News, he asked Napolitano to replace him.[8] Napolitano regularly provides legal analysis on top rated shows both Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, such as The Kelly File, The O’Reilly Factor, Varney & Co., The Fox Report with Shepard Smith, Fox & Friends, and Special Report with Bret Baier.


Political stance

Napolitano is a well-known libertarian who is a strong advocate of constitutional protections against government encroachment on natural and legal rights, as well as a strong advocate of broad constitutional liberties themselves. Napolitano has demonstrated affinity for many libertarian thinkers, such as John Locke, Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Robert Nozick, Randy Barnett, Ayn Rand, and Ludwig von Mises, and a broad array of libertarian ideas aimed at a minimal state aimed at the preservation of personal liberty. Napolitano is noted for stalwartly disagreeing with conservatives on questions of personal freedom, national security, and equality, while also engaging in full-throated defense of more conservative ideas of economic freedom and scope of government.

Specific positions

Napolitano describes himself as pro-life and holds that abortion "should be prohibited."[9] He reasons while a woman has a natural and undeniable right to privacy in her personal choices, the rule of necessity causes the right to life of the fetus, which begins at conception, to take priority for the duration of gestation. Napolitano believes the Supreme Court's ruling on inter-racial marriage in the 1967 case Loving v. Virginia set a precedent that would also require state recognition of same-sex marriage.[10] He also opposes capital punishment: "I don't believe that the state has the moral authority to execute."[11] Napolitano is also a believer in the separation of Church and State.

With respect to both Presidents Bush and Obama and their handling of civil liberties in the War on Terror, Napolitano is a strong critic. In both his recent scholarly work, appearing in the New York University Law School Journal of Law and Liberty, and in his book Suicide Pact, Napolitano delivered detailed criticisms of the actions of both Presidents and their parties with respect to torture, domestic spying, unilateral executive action, and encroachments on political power.

Two weeks after a segment on Geraldo Rivera’s program in 2010 about how the collapse of the 7 World Trade Center appeared more consistent with controlled demolition than collapse, Napolitano made comments on the Alex Jones show that have been interpreted as sympathetic to 9/11 truthers.[12] The extent to which his statements expressed sympathy with those who were skeptical of the events, finding them “hard to believe” because of Geraldo’s program, rather than acceptance of a conspiracy theory, has been a topic of debate.[13] His most extensive work on the topic of 9/11, Suicide Pact, does not express any sympathy with the position, nor have any of his public statements since.[original research?]

In February 2014, Napolitano expressed disdain for Abraham Lincoln on Fox News. He explained that "I am a contrarian on Abraham Lincoln." Slavery in the U.S., according to Napolitano, while one of the most deplorable institutions in human history, could have been done away with through peaceful means, which would have saved the bloodiest conflict in American history. At the same time, Napolitano also argued that states in which slavery was legal did not secede out of fear of abolitionism: "largely the impetus for secession was tariffs."[14] In his recent book Suicide Pact, Napolitano focused his criticism of Lincoln on the precedent set by his specific constitutional violations, such as his unilateral suspension of the right to habeas corpus and his institutionalization of military commission systems for civilian crimes.

Napolitano believes that President Obama’s recent Executive Order on immigration is an unconstitutional use of executive power. He argues that as the president’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion is directly opposite to the will of the United States Congress, it cannot be sustained as an exercise of prosecutorial discretion pursuant to an act of Congress, but rather is an independent presidential act.

Judicial philosophy

Judge Napolitano ascribes to a natural law jurisprudence that is influenced with a respect for originalist ideas and method. He has expressed strong sympathies with the Randy Barnett new originalist vein of originalism, as it incorporates the Natural Law through an original understanding of the Ninth Amendment. He has published a favorable column on Barnett’s idea of a constitutional presumption of liberty.[15] While Napolitano’s academic work as of late has tended to focus on issue-specific concerns of the Natural Law and rights,[16] he aims to more fully develop a jurisprudential theory around his conception of the demands of the Natural Law.

Napolitano’s philosophy generally has a strong originalist bent, while not accepting the limitations of the older types of originalism espoused by Robert Bork and Justice Antonin Scalia with respect to the Constitution’s open-ended provisions like the Ninth Amendment. Napolitano finds such limitations too restricting on a judge’s ability to apply the Natural Law to decide cases where the liberty of the individual is at stake. Napolitano is a strong believer in economic liberties and argues that the decision Lochner v. New York was overruled in error in the West Cost Hotel case, as the Contracts Clause and the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment Due Process clauses protect a sphere of personal economic liberty.[17]

Napolitano’s Natural Law jurisprudence incorporates some Living Constitutionalist decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education and Loving v. Virginia as proper expressions of the Natural Law in terms of personal autonomy and equality. While not ascribing necessarily the reasoning underlying the Supreme Court’s decisions in the area, Napolitano finds that there is a natural right to privacy.

Napolitano’s recent academic and popular work has work asserted that, similar to Randy Barnett’s presumption of liberty, there is a bias in favor of freedom incorporated into the Constitution for when courts are faced with a question of liberty versus security.

In September 2015, Napolitano was the featured speaker at a conference held by the conservative, government watch-dog group Judicial Watch.[18]


Napolitano splits his time living in Manhattan and Newton, New Jersey where he owns a farm that produces maple syrup.[19] He has been associated with many popular and political figures, such as Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ralph Nader, Mike Lee, Geraldo Rivera, George Will, Nat Hentoff, Bill O’Reilly, Alan Colmes, Sean Hannity, and Nick Gillespie.

Napolitano's partner[citation needed] James C. Sheil died on March 19, 2013.[20] In the Acknowledgements section of his book Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty, Napolitano states: "... my happy dreams turned dark last year when Jim Sheil, my alter ego to whose memory this book is dedicated, died suddenly on March 19th 2013, as we were working on this book. Jim and I shared much of our lives with each other. Among that which we shared was a love of the printed word. Yet our philosophies and politics were like oil and water."[21]

Napolitano has stated that he is not related to former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, whom he sometimes jokingly calls "Evil Cousin Janet".[22][23]

Napolitano is a vegetarian.[24]



  • Constitutional Chaos: What Happens When the Government Breaks its Own Laws (2004) ISBN 9780785260837
  • The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land (2006) ISBN 9781595550705
  • A Nation of Sheep (2007) ISBN 9781595551924
  • Dred Scott's Revenge: A Legal History of Race and Freedom in America (2009) ISBN 9781418575571
  • Lies the Government Told You: Myth, Power, and Deception in American History (2010) ISBN 9781418584245
  • It is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom (2011) ISBN 9781595554130
  • Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom (2012) ISBN 9781595554215
  • The Freedom Answer Book: How the Government Is Taking Away Your Constitutional Freedoms (2013) ISBN 9781400320295
  • Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty (2014) ISBN 978-0718021931

Academic Works

  • "The News Person's Shield Law: A Welcome Acceptance by the Federal Courts of an Important State Privilege", New Jersey Lawyer Magazine, Vol. 113, pp. 13–7 (November 1985).
  • "Whatever Happened to Freedom of Speech? A Defense of 'State Interest of the Highest Order' as a Unifying Standard for Erratic First Amendment Jurisprudence", Seton Hall Law Review, Vol. 29, pp.1197–276 (1999).
  • "Liberty v. Tyranny: A Constant Struggle", Regent University Law Review, Vol. 22, pp. 291–99 (2010) (Keynote Address: Media and the Law Symposium: When Does Regulation Go Too Far?).
  • "A Legal History of National Security Law and Individual Rights in the United States", New York University Law School Journal of Law & Liberty, Vol. 8, pp. 396–555 (2014).


  1. "The Law School: The degree of Juris Doctor" (PDF). 1975 Commencement Weekend. University of Notre Dame. p. 23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "False prophet? Why Pope Francis has disappointed many Roman Catholics".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Andrew P Napolitano, Attorney". Retrieved November 19, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. State v. Barcia, 549 A.2d 491 (1988) (Napolitano, J.)
  5. Matter of K.L.F., 646 A.2d 532 (1993) (Napolitano, J.)
  6. Cusseaux v. Pickett, 652 A.2d 789 (1994) (Napolitano, J.)
  7. "Fox Business Network Drops Bolling, Napolitano Shows In Primetime Shuffle". February 9, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Glenn Beck's Fill-In on Fox News Draws the Same Audience as Glenn Beck – TheWrap". TheWrap. Retrieved April 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Nick Gillespie from the March 2005 issue. "The Born-Again Individualist – Reason Magazine". Retrieved April 6, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Should States Be the Ultimate Deciders of the Legality of Same-Sex Marriage?". Fox News. May 9, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Nick Gillespie from the March 2005 issue. "The Born-Again Individualist – Reason Magazine". Retrieved October 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Fox takes heat from left and right over analysts". CNN. December 1, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "Lions of Liberty". Lions of Liberty. Retrieved April 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Denunciation Proclamation". Retrieved April 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Andrew Napolitano on the Importance of the Presumption of Liberty". Retrieved April 25, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. A Legal History of National Security Law and Individual Rights in the United States, NYU Law School Journal of Law & Liberty, Vol. 8, pp. 396–555 (2014).
  17. Suicide Pact p. 66–67
  18. Judicial Watch (September 10, 2015). "Judicial Watch Announces September 14 Leadership Summit Washington Corruption and the Transparency Crisis" (Press release). Washington, DC: Judicial Watch.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. articles with dead external links%5d%5d%5b%5bCategory:Articles with dead external links from October 2013%5d%5d[%5b%5bWikipedia:Link rot|dead link%5d%5d] "Sussex County maple syrup available" Check |url= value (help). The Advertiser-News. Straus Newspapers. March 27, 2008. "We collected 800 gallons of sap from our sugar maples and had it boiled down to 24 gallons of delicious, pure maple syrup that area residents can sample from the local shops that have agreed to carry our glass-jarred, locally made syrup," said FoxNews commentator Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, proprietor of Vine Hill Farm.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "James Sheil Obituary".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. " page for Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. MacIntyre, April (November 18, 2010). "Judge Andrew Napolitano's fatwa on TSA and 'cousin Janet' on FBN". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved August 9, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "Glenn Beck: TSA pat downs a violation of the Fourth Amendment?". Glenn Beck Program. November 24, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links