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Peter Teachout

Peter Teachout

Professor of Law

MA, University of Sussex, England, 1967

JD, Harvard University, 1965

BA, Amherst College, 1962


Curriculum Vitae

Peter Teachout


Professor Peter R. Teachout is recognized for his expertise regarding the constitutional law and history of Vermont and the United States. The courses he has taught at Vermont Law School include Constitutional Law, International Regulation of Trade, Legal History, Jurisprudence, and Argument and Culture.

Professor Teachout received his BA degree from Amherst College in 1962 and his JD degree in 1965 from Harvard Law School, where he was a John Woodruff Simpson Fellow. After receiving his MA degree from the University of Sussex (England), he served in the Department of Intelligence of the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1969. He then returned to Harvard as a special graduate student and served from 1970 to 1975 as a member of the faculty of the University of Washington. During this period, he also served as a visiting professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and as a fellow in law and the humanities at Harvard Law School.
He joined the VLS faculty in 1975. Since then, he has also been a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the University of Chicago and a visiting fellow at Cambridge University and Dartmouth. His expertise has been frequently tapped by Vermont's Legislature and judiciary, which has sought his testimony and advice on the balanced budget amendment, flag desecration legislation, the redrafting of the state Constitution in gender-neutral language, education financing, and civil union legislation. He is the director of VLS/University of Trento and VLS/University of Seville study abroad courses. He is working on a biography of Thomas Reed Powell, a leading early realist and influential court critic during the first half of the 20th century.



​"A Thousand Groves and Streams: Historical Origins of the European Union Motto: 'United in Diversity.'", article in European Autonomy and Diversity Papers (EPAP) published online at (2009)

"A Time to Die: A Constitutional Right to Death with Dignity?" in Life, Technology, and the Law (Kluwer Press 2007).

The Difficulties of the Middle Way, Bostonia, Fall, 1991.


Holocaust Denial and Freedom of Speech: From the Perspective of U.S. Constitutional Law, Vt.L.Rev. (2006).

Trustees and Servants: Government Accountability in Early Vermont, 31 Vt.L.Rev. 857-905 (2006).

Uneasy Burden: What it Means to Think Like a Lawyer, 42 Mercer L. Rev. 593 (1996).

No Simple Disposition: The Brigham Case and the Future of Local Control Over School Spending in Vermont, 22 Vt.L.Rev. 21 (1997).

Strains of Music: Understanding the Speech of the Nomoi in Plato's Crito, 63 U. Cin. L. Rev . 51 (1994).

Complete Achievement: Integrity of Vision and Performance in Berman's Jurisprudence, 42 Emory L.J. 497 (1993).

Lapse of Judgment, 77 Cal. L. Rev. 1259 (1989).

Against the Stream, 13 Vt.L.Rev. 13 (1988).

Chicago Exposition: The New American Jurisprudence as a Cultural Literature, 39 Mercer L. Rev. 767 (1988).

The Burden of the Liberal Song, 62 Ind. L.J. 1283 (1987).

Sentimental Metaphors, 34 UCLA L. Rev . 537 (1986).

Soul of the Fugue: An Essay on Reading Fuller, 70 Minn. L. Rev. 1073 (1986).

Worlds Beyond Theory: Toward the Expression of an Integrative Ethic for Self and Culture, 83 Mich.L. Rev . 849 (1985).

The Heart of the Lawyer's Craft, 42 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 39 (1985).

Boundaries of Realism: White's Tort Law in America, 67 Va. L. Rev. 815 (1981).

Chains of Tradition, Instruments of Freedom: Contours of the Emerging Right to Community in Obscenity Law, 7 Cap. City L. Rev. 683 (1978).

Light in Ashes: The Problem of 'Respect for the Rule of Law' in History, 53 NYU L. Rev . 241 (1978).

Gilmore's New Book: Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre, 2 Vt. L. Rev. 229 (1977).


​Article on "Thomas Reed Powell," in American National Biography (Oxford U. Press 1999).

Trustees and Servants: Government Accountability in Early Vermont Constitutional Experience (paper presented as part of a series on Vermont issues and submitted to Secretary of State's office for publication (1991)).

​Articles in Guide to American Law (West Publishing Co. 1983-85): Henry de Bracton; English Bill of Rights; Courts of Common Pleas; Edward the Confessor; Ranulph De Glanvill; Sir Mathew Hale; Sir William Searle Holdsworth; Lanfranc; Sir Thomas Littleton; Court of King's (or Queen's) Bench; Frederick Maitland; Sir Frederick Pollock; John Selden; Selden Society.

East-West Sons of Mark Twain, The Nation, Apr. 1966 (book review).

​​Review of Paul S. Gillies Uncommon Law, Ancient roads, and Other Ruminations on Vermont Legal History (2013) in The New England Quarterly, September 2014.


​"Uncreated Conscience: The Civilizing Force of Fuller's Jurisprudence," in Rediscovering Fuller (1999).

​"Louisiana Underlaw," in Southern Justice (Leon Friedman ed., Pantheon Press 1965).


​With Fonseca, Handling Consumer Credit Cases, (2d ed., Lawyers Cooperative Publishing Co. 1980).

Channeling Enterprise Activity Through Law: Cases and Materials on Business and Public Policy (ASUW U. Washington, 1973).