New in the Texas Lawyer Magazine: “South Texas Law Prof Becomes Go-To Guy for National Media”

April 6th, 2017

The April issue of the Texas Lawyer magazine ran a feature about my media exposure during the early days of the Trump Administration. Within a month after the inauguration, I had already completed over 100 media hits, including sources from around the globe. The piece is beyond flattering, but accurately conveys why I do what I do.

Here are the highlights:

As a rock star among the legal media, Houston law professor Josh Blackman is on a roll.

He’s long been media savvy, but it reached a fever pitch this year as reporters from some of the biggest news organizations called on him to comment about President Donald Trump’s orders and actions dealing with the law and the courts. . . .

The media rewards sources who react quickly to breaking news, Blackman noted.

“From the inauguration to about a week or two ago was by far the busiest of my entire career,” said Blackman in late February. “I think what I provide is a very timely analysis to breaking news. The key element is quality analysis, quickly.”

“It’s my job as a professor, not just for students, but for the world, who want to understand complicated topics. I consider it a mission to make complex things understandable,” Blackman said. “It’s a very powerful message, sharing your knowledge with The New York Times, and millions of people over the world read it.”

Blackman keeps a close watch on his media hits and compiles a list of articles on his website. People often email him when they see him on television or hear him on the radio. Even with such evidence that people are paying attention, he said it’s hard to measure the impact of his work. He just tries to share his ideas with as big an audience as possible.

“The reason why I teach and the reason I do what I do is I believe strongly in the rule of law and our constitutional republic. The more people are aware of what the Constitution means, what separation of powers are, and how checks and balances and the law operate, then it becomes stronger,” Blackman noted. “That’s what I care profoundly about, and if I can use these channels to explain to people about the aspects of the rule of law, I think our society will be stronger and a place I want to live in.”


The piece also offers quotes from my dean, Don Guter, and our press official, Claire Caton:

It’s great exposure for South Texas to have so many people exposed to Blackman’s legal analysis, said South Texas Dean Donald Guter. He said that in 2012 when he hired Blackman, who had been clerking for the U.S Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, he knew he could be a “superstar.”

“He has exceeded our expectations in all areas, and that includes his ability to manage his workload and still find time to make himself so accessible to the media,” Guter said. “The number of times he is quoted is hard to fathom, but he is so consistent that we’ve come to expect success in all his endeavors.”

South Texas spokeswoman Claire Caton, who closely tracks media mentions of the law school, said Blackman has made her job easy. Blackman is “his own media machine,” she said. There’s been a huge uptick in his quotes since Trump took office, and Caton said it’s because of the nature of the topics coming up: constitutional issues, the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy, Second Amendment matters and immigration orders.

“It runs the gamut of issues he can address directly. Very few people, I believe, have his expertise in those areas—at least at the level that he does,” Caton said. “He positions South Texas College of Law Houston on an international stage.”

And, #AppellateTwitter scion Raffi Melkonian offers these kind words:

Houston attorney Raffi Melkonian said he met Blackman on Twitter and the pair are now friends who have lunch occasionally. He said it’s remarkable that Blackman is so “ridiculously prolific.” In a tweet, Melkonian, a partner in Wright & Close in Houston, recently joked that Blackman must have four clones and one hologram. In person, Blackman comes across as smart and intense, talking quickly about a lot of topics, he said.

Although Blackman gets quoted in many political articles, Melkonian said he doesn’t think Blackman has a passion for politics.

“I think it’s law and how it plays in national controversies. I don’t think he’s interested in team blue winning or team red winning. It’s ‘What can I bring to this debate all of us are having?’ He is very passionate about that,” he said. “He believes in originalism and textualism with respect to statutes and the Constitution. That kind of tinge. I would say he’s trying to get to the right answer and do so in an evenhanded way, understanding he’s got these beliefs.”

Entirely accurate.