John B. Attanasio is Judge James Noel Dean and Professor of Law and the Judge William Hawley Atwell Chair of Constitutional Law at Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law. He is an expert in constitutional law focusing on constitutional development in emerging democracies.
As dean, Dean Attanasio arranged a Supreme Court Summit on "Treaty Supremacy vs. Constitutional Supremacy" between members of the European Court of Justice, the Supreme Court of the United States and the Texas Supreme Court, which was held at the SMU Dedman School of Law in April 2000. He inaugurated the Distinguished Visiting Professor program. Justices Yvonne Mokgoro and Pius Langa of the South African Constitutional Court and Sir Guenter Treitel (former Vinerian Chair at Oxford) have served as Distinguished Visiting Professors. He helped to organize a series of global conferences on the New International Financial Architecture held in Dallas and throughout the world and featuring prominent speakers from the financial, legal and international arenas.
A four-year merit scholar at the University of Virginia, Dean Attanasio earned his Bachelor's degree in 1976 in social systems, an interdisciplinary major of his own design drawing on the departments of history, economics, sociology, and government and international relations. He received his Juris Doctorate in 1979 from New York University School of Law. He received a Diploma in Law from the University of Oxford, Oriel College, in 1982, before earning his Master’s degree in law in 1985 from Yale University.
Dean Attanasio has taught at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Notre Dame Law School where he also served as the John M. Regan, Jr. Director of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies from 1991 to 1992. He was Dean of Saint Louis University School of Law from 1992 to 1998.
Dean Attanasio has received numerous awards, including the Alumni Education Award from New York University School of Law, the Education Award from the St. Louis Civic Italian American Organization, a Fulbright Award, and the Outstanding Faculty Member Award for excellence in teaching at Notre Dame.
As a 1990 Fulbright Award recipient, Dean Attanasio delivered lectures on American Constitutional Law at various institutes in Moscow and several other cities in the former Soviet Union and spoke before members of the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. and the Moscow Soviet. He has advised various legislative and judicial officials in emerging democracies in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.
Dean Attanasio has arranged several meetings between justices of the Russian Constitutional Court and justices of the U.S. Supreme Court including Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. With Dean John Sexton of the New York University School of Law and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Dean Attanasio organized two summits on constitutional adjudication that featured justices of the Russian Constitutional Court, the German Constitutional Court, the Italian Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the United States.
Dean Attanasio is the co-author with Norman Redlich, Joel Goldstein, and the late Bernard Schwartz of Constitutional Law and Understanding Constitutional Law. He is the author of numerous articles in legal journals including the New York University Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Georgetown Law Review and the American Journal of Comparative Law (Berkeley).
Dean Attanasio has taught constitutional law, First Amendment, civil procedure, torts, and jurisprudence. He has written and lectured around the world in the areas of constitutional law, comparative law, international law, freedom of speech, federalism, human genetic engineering, and legal education.