Brent E. Simmons

Brent E. Simmons


B.A. Albion College 1971
J.D. University of Michigan 1977
M.A. George Washington University 1981

Professor Simmons is a 1977 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he was on the editorial staff of the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform.

Professor Simmons gained extensive trial and appellate court experience as a civil rights lawyer with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. from 1977 to 1984. In 1984, he was appointed an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan, with assignments in transportation, environmental protection, public employment, and corrections. He also served as legal adviser to the Michigan Equal Employment and Business Opportunity Council. In 1989, he was appointed a Commissioner for the Michigan Supreme Court. He joined the Cooley faculty in 1994.

Professor Simmons has a long record of public service. He has served on the boards of a number of community and non-profit organizations and is a retired commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He remains active in civil rights litigation and is the recipient of a Humanitarian Service Award from the Greater Lansing Martin Luther King Holiday Commission and an ABA Law Day Liberty Bell Award.

Professor Simmons taught Construction Law as an adjunct professor at Cooley, prior to joining the full-time faculty. In addition to authoring a casebook on Construction Law, he has written numerous articles appearing in the University of Michigan Journal of Race & Law, the Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal, the DCL/MSU Law Review, the National Lawyers' Guild Practitioner, the Thomas M. Cooley Law Review, and elsewhere.

Professor Simmons teaches courses and seminars in Constitutional Law.



Simmons, Brent E., "The Invincibility of Constitutional Error: The Rehnquist Court's States' Rights Assault on Fourteenth Amendment Protections of Individual Rights," 11 SETON HALL CONST. L. J. 259 (2001).

Simmons, Brent E., "Should Class-Based Affirmative Action be Substituted for Race-Based Affirmative Action?," 56 NAT'L LAW. GUIDE PRAC. 95 (1999).

Simmons, Brent E., "Affirmative Action: The Legislative Debate in the Michigan House of Representatives," 14 COOLEY L REV 267 (1997).

Simmons, Brent E., "Reconsidering Strict Scrutiny of Affirmative Action," 2 MICH J RACE & LAW 51 (1996).

Simmons, Brent E., "Evaluating Minority Business Enterprise Set Aside Programs After Richmond v Croson," 1989 PUB CORP L Q 53.

Books and Chapters in Books

Simmons, Brent E., BASIC PRINCIPLES OF CONSTRUCTION LAW Sulzburger and Graham (1996).

Book Reviews and Other Short Works

Simmons, Brent E., Review of MICHIGAN CONSTRUCTION LIENS by John Rohe, 1996 DET C L REV 29.


Presented Papers:

Should Class-Based Affirmative Action be Substituted for Race-Based Affirmative Action? , National Lawyers Guild Conference, Detroit, Oct. 24, 1998

Reconsidering Strict Scrutiny of Affirmative Action , Michigan Advisory Committee to U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Consultation: Focus on Affirmative Action, Detroit, MI (June 18, 1996).

Legislative Testimony & Hearings:

Subcommittee on Violence in Schools, Education Committee, Michigan House of Representatives, Feb. 11, 1998

Committee on Judiciary & Civil Rights, Michigan House of Representatives, July 12, 1995 and May 28,1996

Subcommittee on Affirmative Action, Committee on Judiciary & Civil Rights, Feb. 29, March 21, and April 18, 1996

Public Presentations:

Federalist Society debate, Implications of Michigan Affirmative Action Cases , with Roger Pilon at Thomas M.Cooley Law School, Nov. 18, 2003

The Michigan Affirmative Action Cases , Distinguished Speaker Series,Thomas M. Cooley Law School at Oakland Univ., Sept. 17, 2003

Luncheon speaker, Leadership Forum, Kappa Alpha Psi, Civil Liberties & Homeland Security and Pending U.S. Supreme Court Cases re Affirmative Action at Univ. of Michigan , Univ. Club, Mich. State Univ., March 19, 2003

Panelist, Preferential Admissions and Hiring , Muskegon Forum, Muskegon Community College, Feb. 21, 2002

Panelist, Fed. Bar Assn Annual Luncheon & Seminar, re Univ. of Mich. Affirmative Action Lawsuits, with Lawrence Purdy, Leonard Niehoff, and Marvin Krislov, Grand Rapids, Oct. 25, 2001.

Panelist, "IN FOCUS - The First Amendment: Freedom of Expression & Religion," Lansing Community College Cable TV program, Nov. 2, 1999.

Panelist, "Affirmative Action: Will it be Necessary in the Next Millennium?," Michigan Association of Black Social Workers' Conference, Lansing, Nov. 14, 1998.

Panelist, "Should Class-Based Affirmative Action be Substituted for Race-Based Affirmative Action?," National Lawyers Guild Conference, Detroit, Oct. 24, 1998.

Speaker, A History of Affirmative Action as Government Policy, @ Board of Directors, Jewish Community Council of Metropolitan Detroit, Bloomfield Hills, Feb. 3, 1998.

Panelist, Detroit College of Law at MSU, Diversity Week panel, with Robert Sedler, Carl Cohen, Roger Clegg, and Janet Cooper, Jan. 21, 1998.

Panelist, Detroit College of Law at MSU, Federalist Society debate on affirmative action, with William B. Allen, Sept. 23, 1997.

Panelist, "Diversity in Higher Education: A Look Toward the Future," with Earl Nelson and William Sederburg, Michigan Association for Equity in Higher Education, Kellogg Conference Center, East Lansing, MI, June 12, 1997.

Speaker, "Affirmative Action on the Ropes in Michigan," legislative update, Michigan College & University Personnel Association, Spring Conference, Hope College, Holland, MI, March 6, 1997.

Panelist "Ballot Proposals to Amend the Lansing Civil Rights Ordinance Excluding Gays and Lesbians from Coverage," sponsored by the Lansing Area League of Woman Voters, the Lansing Human Relations Department, and the Greater Lansing YMCA, Lansing, MI, Oct. 3 and Oct. 11, 1996.

Speaker, "The Debate over Affirmative Action," Michigan A.A./E.E.O. Directors' Conference, Lansing, Michigan, Sept. 23, 1996.

Panelist, "Affirmative Action Workshop," ACLU of Michigan State Convention, Ann Arbor, MI, June 29, 1996.

Panelist, "Admissions, Scholarships and the Politics of Race and Gender," presented at Lansing Community College, Feb. 22, 1996.

Interviewee, WGVU Public Radio, "The Morning Show," Aug. 2, 1995.

Interviewee, WKBD-TV 50 Interview, "Straight Talk," with State Rep. David Jaye, Sept. 22, 1995.

Panelist, Coalition of Concerned Women, Forum on Women's Issues, Thomas Cooley Law School, Sept. 23, 1995.

Speaker, Michigan A.A./E.E.O. Directors' Conference, Kellogg Center, Michigan State University, Sept. 26, 1995.

Speaker, Greater Detroit Interfaith Round Table, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Univ. of Detroit, Sept. 28, 1995.

Panelist, Debate on Affirmation Action with Clint Bolick, Federalist Society, Detroit, MI, Sept. 28, 1995.

Speaker, Legislative Conference 1995, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Sept. 30, 1995.

Interviewee, "Michigan At Risk: By the Content of Their Character- The Debate on Affirmative Action," WKAR-TV 23, Nov. 20, 1995.

Speaker, President's Council on a Multicultural University, University of Michigan, Dec. 12, 1995.


Real-World Experience

Specialties: Civil Rights, Employment, Construction Law

Courses: Constitutional Law

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