Orin S. Kerr is a professor of law at the USC Gould School of Law. Kerr previously taught at the George Washington University Law School. He is known as a scholar in the subjects of computer crime law and internet surveillance. Kerr is one of the contributors to the law-oriented blog titled The Volokh Conspiracy.
Early Life & Education
Kerr was born in 1971 in New York and graduated from Tower Hill School in Wilmington, Delaware in 1989. In 1993, he received a B.S.E. magna cum laude in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton University; in 1994, an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. He attended Harvard Law School, where he was executive editor of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy; he received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1997.
In 1997–1998, Kerr was a law clerk for Judge Leonard I. Garth of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. From 1998 to 2001, he was employed as a trial attorney in the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the United States Department of Justice Criminal Division. In 2001, he joined the faculty of George Washington University Law School.
In 2003, Kerr took a leave of absence from the law school to clerk for Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the United States Supreme Court during October Term 2003. In 2009, he served U.S. Senator John Cornyn of the Senate Judiciary Committee as Special Counsel for Supreme Court Nominations during Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation as Supreme Court Justice; a year later, he again served as an advisor to Cornyn, this time on the Supreme Court confirmation of Elena Kagan. In 2012, he was appointed to a position as a scholar-in-residence at the Library of Congress; the two-year part-time position focused on information technology, privacy, and criminal justice.
Kerr was one of the lawyers for alleged MySpace "cyberbully" Lori Drew. His blog contributions at The Volokh Conspiracy often focus on developments in internet privacy law. He has been regarded as a leading scholar on Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in electronic communications and surveillance. Kerr was repeatedly cited in the Ninth Circuit's 2008 opinion Quon v. Arch Wireless Operating Co., Inc., which held that users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the content of text messages and e-mails. The Supreme Court later took up the case, as Ontario v. Quon, and unanimously reversed.
In response to a 2011 comment by Chief Justice John Roberts criticizing the irrelevancy of legal scholarship for focusing on issues such as Immanuel Kant's influence on 18th century evidentiary approaches in Bulgaria, Kerr wrote a short, humorous paper on the topic in 2015, finding that such influence was highly improbable.