Stephen Kanter

Emeritus Dean and Professor of Law

Legal Research Center 123


Professor Kanter was assistant director and chief attorney for the Metropolitan Public Defender in Portland. He served as president of the Oregon American Civil Liberties Union and has published several law review articles on capital punishment. He contributed an article on kidnapping for the Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice and is coauthor with Chinese law dean Han Depei of an article on legal education and the debate of current legal issues in China. He has recently published an article proposing a model for a more unified theory of constitutional rights. Kanter has appeared as amicus curiae before the Oregon Supreme Court and has testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on criminal procedure code reform. He has been active in the American Inns of Court, Oregon American Civil Liberties Union, and Northwest Regional China Council. He is a member of the Oregon State Bar, the American Bar Foundation and has served on the national board of directors of the Fulbright Association.

Kanter spent the 1984-85 academic year in China as Fulbright professor of law and has written about his teaching experiences in China. He served as dean of Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College from 1986 to 1994. He spent his 1993-94 sabbatical year in Greece, including one semester as a Fulbright professor of law.

Professor Kanter served on a three-member international panel that assisted Kazakhstan in writing a new constitution. He is the author of the children’s book The Bear and the Blackberry, and he serves as the president of the Portland Baseball Group, leading the statewide effort to bring Major League Baseball to Portland. He has also lectured and served as a legal advisor in Thailand, Russia and Latvia.

Specialty Areas and Course Descriptions

Academic Credentials

  • BS 1968 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • JD 1971 Yale Law School


Separately Published Works

  • CONSTITUTIONAL THEORY: CASES AND OTHER READINGS, Volumes I & II (Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College 2005).
  • THE BEAR AND THE BLACKBERRY (Kantourian Press 1999).

Works Published As Part of a Collection

  • When a Car Was Not A “Car”: A Quintessentially Yale Theory of Legal Interpretation, 61 YALE LAW REPORT 54 (2014)
  • Brevity Is the Soul of Wit: Nguyen Is Dead, 16 LEWIS & CLARK LAW REVIEW 1305 (2013)
  • Sleeping Beauty Wide Awake: State Constitutions as Important Independent Sources of Individual Rights, 15 LEWIS & CLARK LAW REVIEW 799 (2011).
  • Bong Hits 4 Jesus as a Cautionary Tale of Two Cities, 12 LEWIS & CLARK LAW REVIEW 61 (2008).
  • The Griswold Diagrams: Toward a Unified Theory of Constitutional Rights, 28 CARDOZO LAW REVIEW 623 (2006).
  • Confronting Capital Punishment: A Fresh Perspective on the Constitutionality of the Death Penalty Statutes in Oregon, 36 WILLAMETTE LAW REVIEW 313 (2000).
  • Proposition 187: A Debate on California’s Immigration Initiative, 7 INTERNATIONAL LEGAL PERSPECTIVES 85 (1995)(co-authored with F.J. Capriotti, III, and Stephen Pidgeon).
  • Our Democracy’s Balancing Act: American Federalism Reexamined, Vol. VII, No. 1 OREGON HUMANITIES 2 (1995).
  • Legal Briefs: U.S. Training Programs for Chinese Legal Professionals: Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, CHINA EXCHANGE NEWS, Vol. 22, No. 4, Winter 1994, at 31, 35.
  • Constitution Making in Kazakhstan, 5 INTERNATIONAL LEGAL PERSPECTIVES 65 (1993).
  • William J. Knudsen, Jr.: Professor Emeritus of Law, 19 ENVIRONMENTAL LAW 5 (1988).
  • James M. Dente - Professor Emeritus of Law, 17 ENVIRONMENTAL LAW 1003 (1987).
  • Socratic Sipping: Teaching Law in China, CHINA EXCHANGE NEWS, Vol. 13, No. 3, September 1985, at 7, reprinted in 6 JOURNAL OF THE ASSOCIATION OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION ADMINISTRATORS 13 (1986).
  • Legal Education in China, 32 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW 543 (1984) (co-authored with Han Depei).
  • Kidnapping, in ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CRIME AND JUSTICE, Volume 3, at 993 (Sanford H. Kadish, editor in chief, The Free Press 1983).
  • Criminal Law and Procedure, in RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE LAW 1982 (Oregon Law Institute 1982).
  • Brief Against Death: More on the Constitutionality of Capital Punishment in Oregon, 17 WILLAMETTE LAW REVIEW 629 (1981).
  • Criminal Law and Procedure, in RECENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE LAW 1980 (Oregon Law Institute 1980).
  • Dealing with Death: The Constitutionality of Capital Punishment in Oregon, 16 WILLAMETTE LAW REVIEW 1 (1979).
  • Defenses and The Trial, Chapters 17 and 18 in OREGON CRIMINAL LAW HANDBOOK (Oregon State Bar Committee on Continuing Legal Education 1974).

Major Appellate Briefs, Amicus Curiae

  • Planned Parenthood of the Columbia/Willamette, Inc, et. al. v. American Coalition of Life Activists, et. al., 41 F.Supp.2d 1130 (1999)(co-authored with Michael Simon).
  • Bryant, et. al. v. Thompson, 324 Or. 141 (1996)(co-authored with Charles F. Hinkle).
  • State v. Quinn, 290 Or. 383 (1981).
  • State v. Shumway, 291 Or. 153 (1981).
  • State v. Downes, 285 Or. 369 (1979).
  • State v. Fondren, 285 Or. 361 (1979).
  • State v. Greene, 285 Or. 337 (1979).
  • Penrod v. Cup

Congressional Testimony

  • Privacy Protection Act: Hearings on S. 1790 Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 96th Cong., 2d Sess. 103 (1980)., 283 Or. 21 (1978).