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Stephen L. Carter (born October 26 1954) is an Americanmarker law professor, legal- and social-policy writer, columnist, and best-selling novelist. He is currently the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale Law School, where he has taught since 1982. At Yale he teaches courses on contracts, professional responsibility, ethics in literature, intellectual property, and the law and ethics of war. His non-fiction books have received praise from voices across the political spectrum, from Marion Wright Edelman to John Cardinal O'Connor. Carter's first novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park, spent 11 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list in 2002. His fourth novel, Jericho's Fall, was published in July of 2009.

Carter earned his B.A. in history from Stanford Universitymarker in 1976. At Stanford he served as managing editor for The Stanford Daily. Carter received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979. At Yale, he won the prize for best oralist in the Thurmond Arnold Moot Court Competition and served as a Note Editor on the Yale Law Journal. Following graduation from Yale, Carter served as a law clerk for Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and, subsequently, for US Supreme Court Justicemarker Thurgood Marshall.

Carter was raised in Harlemmarker, in Washington, D.C.marker, and in Ithacamarker, New Yorkmarker. He graduated from Ithaca High Schoolmarker in 1972, and his essay "The Best Black" is based in part on his experiences there. At Ithaca High School, he was the editor-in-chief of The Tattler and pushed hard for student representation on the local school board Carter has received eight honorary degrees, from schools including Colgate Universitymarker, Bates Collegemarker, and the University of Notre Damemarker.

He and his wife, Enola Aird, have two children, and currently reside in Connecticutmarker.

Books and other writing

Non-fiction books

  • Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby. New York: Basic Books, 1991 ISBN 0-465-06871-5.
  • The Culture of Disbelief. New York: Anchor, 1991 ISBN 0-385-47498-9.
  • The Confirmation Mess: Cleaning Up the Federal Appointments Process. New York: Basic Books, 1994 ISBN 0-465-01364-3.
  • Integrity. New York: Harper Perennial, 1997 ISBN 0-06-092807-7. This book regards the current state of public integrity and its philosophical underpinnings.
  • The Dissent of the Governed: A Meditation on Law, Religion, and Loyalty, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998 ISBN 0-674-21265-7.
  • Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy. New York: Harper Perennial, (1999) ISBN 0-06-097759-0.
  • God's Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politics. New York: Basic Books, 2001 ISBN 0-465-00887-9.


  • The Emperor of Ocean Park (2002) ISBN 0-375-71292-5 is a mystery and thriller involving the law professor son of a disgraced federal judge, whose nomination to the United States Supreme Courtmarker collapsed in scandal, and the son's search for the truth behind his father's death.
  • New England White (2007) is a thriller in which the wife of the president of an Ivy League university suspects that her husband is covering up a murder committed thirty years ago by one of his two roommates, who are running against each other for President of the United States.
  • Palace Council (2008) involves a two-decade conspiracy to gain control of the Oval Office. The story is set in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and the major characters include Eddie Wesley, a Harlem writer; Aurelia, the woman Eddie loves, who becomes a professor at Cornell Universitymarker; and a number of real-life historical figures, including Richard Nixon and Langston Hughes.
  • Jericho's Fall (2009) recounts the last days of a "Former Everything" (including SecState and CIA Director) who is determined to reveal secrets and the struggles that result, all on a Colorado mountaintop and in a small Colorado town.

Carter's work is seen frequently on the op-ed pages of major newspapers. In addition to his policy writings and novels, Carter for several years wrote a feature column in Christianity Today magazine.


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