Professor Richard Duncan

Richard F. Duncan Sherman S. Welpton, Jr. Professor of Law and Warren R. Wise Professor of Law

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Professor Duncan joined the faculty in 1979. He received his B.A. degree from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) in 1973. In 1976, he received his J.D. degree from the Cornell Law School, where he served on the Board of Editors of the Cornell Law Review. He was admitted to the New York Bar in 1977. From 1976-79, he was associated with White & Case, a New York City law firm. Professor Duncan teaches Property, Constitutional Law, and First Amendment. He is a passionate and enthusiastic classroom teacher, whose style is not so much Socratic Dialogue as Socratic Performance Art. He spends most of his passion and energy teaching, writing, and speaking about social justice issues such as the right-to-life, religious liberty, freedom of speech, the pursuit of happiness,  and other inalienable rights and liberties. He has spoken and debated at nearly 100 law schools on numerous issues concerning social justice and constitutional law. He loves teaching at Nebraska Law, especially in Room 113 which he claims to own by adverse possession. His favorite legal idea is “first come rights, then comes government to secure those rights.”

Here is a link to Professor Duncan's video CLE for the 2020 Nebraska Bar Annual Meeting on The Masks of the Law from Slavery to Abortion: and here is a link to his CLE on Compelled Speech from "salute the flag" to "bake the cake":

Professor Duncan lived for many years on a country road in rural Nebraska. He currently resides in South Lincoln. He and his wife, Kelly, have five children (Casey, Joshua, Rebecca Joy, Hannah Grace, and Kathleen Noel) and three grandchildren. His activities outside law include following professional baseball and hockey, weightlifting (especially going heavy on the incline bench press), and attending theatrical productions on Broadway. He has seen Hamilton: An American Musical 11 times (including twice on Broadway with the original cast). He is a member of the Federalist Society and, much more importantly, of Country Bible Church in Bennet, Nebraska.


Constitutional Law I Law 609/G (EDAD *870) (1-4 cr hr)
Structure of the federal government, including the history and judicial interpretation of the Constitution, federalism, interstate commerce, due process, equal protection, and separation of powers.

Constitutional Law II Law 732/G (EDAD *871) (1-4 cr hr)
Emphasizes protected individual civil liberties. The origin and modern applicability of the state action concept in constitutional litigation; the scope of congressional power to enforce the post Civil War amendments; freedom of speech, association, and press; and constitutional principles enforcing the first amendment's command that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Constitutional Problems Seminar Law 781/G (1-4 cr hr)
Selected constitutional issues of current importance.

Property I & II Law 505/G & 506/G (3-6 cr hr, max 6 per class)
Problems in possession, gifts of personal property, bona fide purchasers of personal property, estates in land, landlord and tenant, the modern land transaction, controlling the use of land, easements, licenses and equitable servitudes and constitutional limitations on the power of government to restrict individual economic liberties.


Legislative Prayer, the Supreme Court of the United States, and Two Concepts of Religious Liberty,  Humanities and Social Sciences Review, Volume 4, No. 3, 2015

Why I am a Libertarian in Secular America,  8 The Christian Lawyer 6 (Spring 2012)

Umpires Not Activists: The Recent Jurisprudence of the Nebraska Supreme Court,  (Federalist Society White Paper 2009)

Justice Thomas and Partial Incorporation of the Establishment Clause: Herein of Structural Limitations, Liberty Interests, and Taking Incorporation Seriously,  20 Regent L. Rev. 37 (2007)

Locked Out: Locke v. Davey and the Broken Promise of Equal Access,  8 U. Pa. J. Const. L. 699 (2006)

Free Exercise and Individualized Exemptions: Herein of Smith, Sherbert, Hogwarts and Religious Liberty,  83 Neb. L.Rev.1178 (2005)

Free Exercise Is Dead, Long Live Free Exercise: Smith, Lukumi and the General Applicability Requirement,  3 U. Pa J. Const. L. 850 (2001)

Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science, Law and Education,  (Book Review) 16 J. Law & Religion 945 (2001)

Parental Opt-Outs In Nebraska Schools: Respecting Freedom of Thought, Parental Rights, and Religious Pluralism,  79 Neb. L. Rev. 922 (2000)

'They Call Me 'Eight Eyes'': Hardwick's Respectability, Romer's Narrowness, And Same-Sex Marriage,  32 Creighton L. Rev. 241 (1998)

From Loving To Romer: Homosexual Marriage And Moral Discernment,  12 B.Y.U.J. Public Law 239 (1998)

The Narrow And Shallow Bite of Romer And The Eminent Rationality of Dual-Gender Marriage,  6 William & Mary Bill of Rights J. 147 (1997)

Wigstock And The Kulturkampf: Supreme Court Storytelling, The Culture War, and Romer v. Evans,  72 Notre Dame L. Rev. 345 (1997)

Public Schools And The Inevitability of Religious Inequality,  1996 B.Y.U. L. Rev. 569

Homosexual Marriage and the Myth of Tolerance: Is Cardinal O'Connor a "Homophob"? ,  10 Notre Dame J. Law, Ethics & Pub. Policy 587 (1986)

Homosexual Rights and Citizen Initiatives: Is Constitutionalism Unconstitutional,  9 Notre Dame J. of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 97 (1995) (with Young)

Who Wants To Stop The Church: Homosexual Rights Legislation, Public Policy, and Religious Freedom,  69 Notre Dame L. Rev. 393 (1994)

Religious Civil Rights In Public High Schools: The Supreme Court Speaks on Equal Access,  24 Ind. L. Rev. 111 (1990)

Federal Tax Liens and the Secured Party,  21 U.C.C.L.J. 3 (1988) (with Lyons)

Loan Payments to Secured Creditors as Preferences Under the 1984 Bankruptcy Amendments,  64 Neb. L. Rev. 83 (1985)

Section 547(c)(1) and Delayed Perfection of Security Interests in the Ninth Circuit: Matter of Vance,  721 F.2d 259 (9th Cir. 1983), 58 Am. Bankr. L.J. 269 (1984)

Delayed Perfection of Security Interests in Personal Property and the Substantially Contemporaneous Exchange Exception to Preference Attack,  62 Neb. L. Rev. 201 (1983). This article was the subject of a lengthy "digest" in 17 U.C.C.L.J. 82-85 (1984)

Preferential Transfers, the Floating Lien, and Section 547 (c)(5) of the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978,  36 Ark. L. Rev. 1 (1982)

Through the Trap Door Darkly: Nebraska Exemption Policy and the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978,  60 Neb. L. Rev. 219 (1981)


The Law and Practice of Secured Transactions: Working with Article 9,(with Lyons and Wilson) (1987)(with Lyons and Wilson) (2023)

Book Chapters

Hardwick's Landmark Status, Romer's Narrowness, and the Preservation of Marriage, in Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate, 264-73. (Wardle et al ed.) Praeger 2003)

Reflections on the Emperor's Clothes: A Response to Professor David B. Cruz's Theory on Marriage and the First Amendment, in Marriage and Same-Sex Unions: A Debate, 261-63. Wardle et al ed.) (Praeger 2003)

On Liberty and Life In Babylon: A Pilgrim's Pragmatic Proposal, in McConnell, Christian Perspectives on Legal Thought, (Yale University Press 2001)

The Impact of Smith On Free Exercise Issues Concerning Education, in International Perspectives On Church and State, (Menachem Mor, ed., 1993)

Wednesday, August 3, 2022


J.D., cum laude, 1976, Cornell Law School
B.S., magna cum laude, 1973, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Areas of Expertise


Sherman S. Welpton, Jr. Professor of Law, 1990
Professor of Law, 1985
Associate Professor of Law, 1985
Assistant Professor of Law, 1979