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John Bickers

John M. Bickers
Professor of Law

"After retiring as an Army Judge Advocate, I was honored and delighted to have the opportunity to come to Chase. To be a part of a community like this one, with both full and part-time students becoming exceptional lawyers, is a rare gift. Chase students are impressive in the dedication they bring to learning, and they demonstrate in the classroom skills that will soon be a real asset for their clients."


Before arriving at Chase in 2006, John Bickers served in the Army for more than two decades. A Judge Advocate for most of his career (after a brief stint in tanks), he has been a prosecutor, a defense counsel, and administrative law attorney, a manager of a law office in Germany, and a teacher at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

Professor Bickers earned an A.B. from Cornell University, where he majored in history. Later he received a J.D. from the University of Michigan, and still later an LL.M. from Georgetown. He teaches Constitutional Law and Professional Responsibility.

His research interests include Constitutional history and fantasy football, although he has never published on the latter. A plurality of the United States Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit have approvingly quoted his writing.



  • AB History, Cornell University
  • JD, The University of Michigan Law School
  • LLM, Georgetown University Law Center

Courses Taught

  • Constitutional Law I
  • Constitutional Law II
  • Professional Responsibility


“Greenbacks, Consent, and Unwritten Amendments” 73 Arkansas Law Review 669 (2021).

“False Facts and Holy War: How the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause Cases Fuel Religious Conflict” 51 Indiana Law Review 305 (2018).

“Asculum Defeats: Prosecution Losses in the Military Commissions and How They Help the United States” 4 National Security Law Journal 201 (2016).

Two Figures in the Picture: How an Old Legal Practice Might Solve the Puzzle of Lost Punitive Damages in Legal Malpractice, 35 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 35 (2014) SSRN

Standing on Holy Ground: How Rethinking Justiciability Might Bring Peace to the Establishment Clause, 60 Cleveland St. L. Rev 415 (2012) SSRN

Too Little, Too Late? Why President Obama's Well-Intentioned Reforms of the Military Commissions May Not Be Enough to Save Them, 31 Whittier L. Rev. 381 (2010) Hein Online  

Of Non-Horses, Quantum Mechanics, and the Establishment Clause, 57 U. Kan. L. Rev. 371 (2009) Hein Online  SSRN   

The Power to Do What Manifestly Must Be Done: Congress, The Freedmen's Bureau, and Constitutional Imagination, 12 Roger Williams U. L. Rev. 70 (2007) Hein Online  SSRN  

With T. Bakken and R. Goldstein, GUIDE TO CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN NEW YORK, Wadsworth Publishing (2005)

Military Commissions Are Constitutionally Sound: A Response To Professors Katyal And Tribe, 34 Tex. Tech L. Rev. 899 (2003) Hein Online

Warrior Generals Combat Leadership In The Civil War, 158 Mil. L. Rev. 164 (1998) Hein Online

Speaking Engagements and Recognitions

"Greenbacks, Consent, and Unwritten Amendments," Amending America's Unwritten Constitution, Boston College, MA (May 2019)

""From Foe to Friend:  The Law of War and Slavery," Common Cause: Synthesizing the Work of Human Rights and Civil Rights Scholars and Practitioners, Northern Kentucky University (April 2019)

“Voting and the Constitution,” Northern Kentucky Votes, Newport, KY (November 2017)

“Whose Lawyer Are You, Anyway?” International Women's Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation Continuing Legal Education, Lexington, KY (October 2017)

Interviewed in a story about the same-sex marriage cases, Fox 19 News, (December 2014)

Panelist, Kentucky Tonight: “Foreign Policy,” KET-TV. (December 8, 2014)

Presenter, Using a Wok: How Non-Bar Tested Electives Can Teach Lawyering, LegalED Conference on Igniting Law Teaching, American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C. (April 2014)

Presenter, The Supreme Court: Year in Review, General Counsel Conference, TRICARE Military Health System General Management Agency, Washington, DC (March 2013)

Presenter, Forever Free: The Constitutionality of the Emancipation Proclamation, Six @ Six Lecture Series, Cincinnati Mercantile Library, Cincinnati, OH (September 2012)

Panelist, Anti-Terrorism Law and Policy, PBS: Kentucky Tonight, on-air broadcast (June 3, 2013)

Panelist, The Constitutionality of the Smoke-Free Kentucky Act, Kentucky House Judiciary Committee, Frankfort, KY (March 2013)

2013 Faculty Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching, Northern Kentucky University