Guido Calabresi

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Guido Calabresi
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
In office
July 21, 1994 – July 21, 2009
Appointed by Bill Clinton
Preceded by Thomas Meskill
Succeeded by Christopher Droney
Dean of the Yale Law School
In office
Preceded by Harry Wellington
Succeeded by Anthony Kronman
Personal details
Born (1932-10-18) October 18, 1932 (age 86)
Milan, Italy
Alma mater Yale University
Magdalen College, Oxford

Guido Calabresi (born October 18, 1932) is an American legal scholar and senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is a former Dean of Yale Law School, where he has been a professor since 1959. Calabresi is considered, along with Ronald Coase and Richard Posner, a founder of the field of law and economics.


Guido is the son of the late cardiologist Massimo Calabresi and European literature scholar Bianca Maria Finzi-Contini Calabresi (1902–1982). Calabresi's parents, active in the resistance against Italian fascism, eventually fled Milan for New Haven, Connecticut, immigrating to the United States in September 1939. The family became naturalized American citizens in 1948. Guido's older brother Paul Calabresi (1930–2003) was a prominent medical and pharmacological researcher of cancer and oncology.

Calabresi married Anne Gordon Audubon Tyler, a social anthropologist, freelance writer, social activist, philanthropist and arts patron. Both received their primary education at the Foote School in New Haven, graduating in 1946 and 1948, respectively. Calabresi would continue on to receive his secondary education from Hopkins School, graduating in 1949. They reside in Woodbridge, Connecticut, and have three children. Anne Gordon Audubon Calabresi (Anne Calabresi Oldshue), a psychiatrist, graduated cum laude from Yale, attended medical school at Case Western Reserve University and completed residency at Harvard.[1] Massimo Franklin Tyler ("M.F.T.") Calabresi, a journalist with Time magazine, also graduated from Yale.[2] Bianca Finzi-Contini Calabresi attended Yale as well, graduating summa cum laude, and has a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature from Columbia.[3] Calabresi's nephew, Steven G. Calabresi, is a renowned Constitutional Law professor at Northwestern University and a co-founder of the Federalist Society.


Calabresi received his B.S. summa cum laude from Yale College in 1953, majoring in economics—a choice which would have significant connections with his later pursuits. He was then selected as a Rhodes Scholar, studying at Magdalen College, Oxford, which awarded him a B.A. with First Class Honors in 1955. He received his law degree (LL.B.) magna cum laude from Yale Law School in 1958, graduating first in his class, and was also a law review member as Note Editor of the Yale Law Journal from 1957 to 1958. Following graduation from Yale Law, Calabresi served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Hugo Black from 1958 to 1959. Additionally, he earned a M.A. in politics, philosophy, and economics from the University of Oxford in 1959; and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Order of the Coif.[4]


Calabresi joined the faculty of the Yale Law School upon completion of his Supreme Court clerkship, becoming the youngest ever full professor at Yale Law, and was Dean from 1985 to 1994. He now is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Law and Professorial Lecturer in Law at Yale.

Calabresi is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and from 1971 to 1975 served as town selectman for Woodbridge, Connecticut.[5]

Calabresi is, along with Ronald Coase, a founder of law and economics. His pioneering contributions to the field include the application of economic reasoning to tort law, and a legal interpretation of the Coase theorem. Under Calabresi's intellectual and administrative leadership, Yale Law School became a leading center for legal scholarship imbued with economics and other social sciences. Calabresi has been awarded more than forty honorary degrees from universities across the world. He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.[6]

On February 9, 1994, former President Bill Clinton nominated Calabresi as circuit judge to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, he was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 18, received his commission on July 21, and entered duty on September 16, 1994, replacing Thomas Joseph Meskill. President Clinton is a 1973 graduate of the Yale Law School, although he never had Calabresi as a professor. Among Calabresi's expansive group of former students are Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor, former United States Attorney General Michael Mukasey, feminist legal scholar and law professor at the Universities of Michigan and Chicago Catharine MacKinnon, former White House Counsel Gregory Craig, Senator John Danforth, Harvard Law School professor Richard H. Fallon, Jr., civil and human rights legal scholar Kenji Yoshino, noted torts scholar and law professor at the University of Virginia Kenneth Abraham, and New York University School of Law torts professor Catherine Sharkey.[7] Calabresi, alone among Yale Law School faculty members, supported Thomas's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Calabresi took senior status on July 21, 2009.[8]

Yale, in 2006, created the Guido Calabresi Professorship of Law, with Kenji Yoshino serving as the inaugural professor of the endowed chair. Daniel Markovits is the current holder of the chair.

Calabresi is the author of four books and over 100 articles on law and related subjects.

Major works

Notable decisions

See also


  • Honorary degree, University of Pavia, 1987.
  • Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award, American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section, 2015 [9]


External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Harry Wellington
Dean of Yale Law School
Succeeded by
Anthony Kronman
Legal offices
Preceded by
Thomas Meskill
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Succeeded by
Christopher Droney