Myron Orfield

  • Earl R. Larson Professor of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law
  • Director, Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity
Myron Orfield
  • University of Minnesota, B.A.
  • University of Chicago, J.D.

Office: N230
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor Myron Orfield is the Director of the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity and teaches constitutional law. He has written three books and dozens of articles and book chapters on local government law, spatial inequality, fair housing, school desegregation, charter schools, state and local taxation and finance, and land use law. The syndicated columnist Neal Peirce called him “the most influential demographer in America’s burgeoning regional movement.” Orfield’s research has led to legislative and judicial reforms at the federal level and state level reform in Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon, and Maryland.

Professor Orfield has been a litigator in a large law firm, a civil rights lawyer, and an assistant attorney general of Minnesota, representing Minnesota in appellate courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He has been a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington and led both a national non-profit organization and a private research firm with clients all over the United States. Orfield was elected to both the Minnesota House of Representatives and Senate, where he was the architect of a series of important legislative changes in land use, fair housing, and school and local government aid programs. Recently, Orfield served on the National Commission on Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, as an academic advisor to the Congressional Black Caucus, an advisor to President Obama’s transition team for urban policy, to the White House Office of Urban Affairs, and as special consultant to the HUD’s Office for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. At FHEO, Professor Orfield assisted in the development of the Fair Housing Act’s Discriminatory Effects Standard (the “disparate impact rule”) (78 Fed. Reg. 11460) and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule (80 Fed.Reg. 42272).

Professor Orfield graduated, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota, was a graduate student at Princeton University, and has a J.D. from the University of Chicago, where received the Patino Fellowship, served on the University of Chicago Law Review and was a finalist in the Hinton Moot Court competition. Following law school, he clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit and then returned to the University of Chicago Law School as a Research Associate and Bradley Fellow at the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice. His early articles on the impact of the exclusionary rule on police behavior continue to be widely cited.

Read PDF iconTheory at Work article in Perspectives.

For further information on Professor Orfield, please consult his PDF iconcurriculum vitae.


Legislative Process

Smart Growth

Equal Protection and Civil Rights Acts



  • Region: Planning the Future of the Twin Cities (University of Minnesota Press, 2010) Thomas F. Luce & Jr.
  • American Metropolitics: The New Suburban Reality (Brookings Institution Press, 2002)
  • Metropolitics: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability (Brookings Institution Press, 1997)

Journal Articles

  • The Summit for Civil Rights: Mission, Structure, and Initial Outcomes, 36 Law & Inequality 191 (2018) William Stancil
  • Why Are the Twin Cities So Segregated?, 43 Mitchell Hamline Law Review 1 (2017)   Will Stancil
  • An Analysis of Student Performance in Chicago’s Charter Schools, 24(111) Education Policy Analysis Archives (2016) Thomas Luce
  • Taking a Holistic View of Housing Policy, 26 Housing Policy Debate 284 (2016) Will Stancil, Thomas Luce & Eric Myott
  • High Costs and Segregation in Subsidized Housing Policy, 25 Housing Policy Debate 574 (2015) Will Stancil, Thomas Luce & Eric Myott
  • Milliken, Meredith and Metropolitan Segregation, 62 UCLA Law Review 364 (2015)
  • Regional Educational Policy Analysis: Rochester, Omaha, and Minneapolis’ Inter-District Arrangements, 29 Educational Policy 780 (2015) Kara S. Finnigan, Jennifer Jellison Holme, Thomas Luce, Sarah Diem, Allison Mattheis & Nadine D. Hylton
  • Response to Poverty-Pimping CDCs: The Search for Dispersal’s Next Bogeyman, 25 Housing Policy Debate 619 (2015) Will Stancil, Thomas Luce & Eric Myott
  • Charters, Choice and the Constitution, 2014 University of Chicago Legal Forum 377 (2014)
  • America’s Racially Diverse Suburbs: Opportunities and Challenges, 23 Housing Policy Debate 395 (2013) Thomas F. Luce
  • Regional Strategies for Racial Integration of Schools and Housing Post-Parents Involved, 29 Law and Inequality 149 (2011)
  • A Missed Opportunity: Minnesota’s Failed Experiment with Choice-Based Integration, 35 William Mitchell Law Review 936 (2009) Margaret Hobday & Geneva Finn
  • Parcel Data for Research and Policy, 3 Geography Compass 698 (2009) Steven M. Manson, Heather A. Sander, Debarchana Ghosh, J. Michael Oakes, William J. Craig, Thomas F. Luce, Jr., Eric Myott & Shipeng Sun
  • The Minnesota Fiscal Disparities Act of 1971: The Twin Cities’ Struggle and Blueprint for Regional Cooperation, 33 William Mitchell Law Review 591 (2007) Nicholas Wallace
  • The Region and Taxation: School Finance, Cities, and the Hope for Regional Reform, 55 Buffalo Law Review 91 (2007)
  • Choice, Equal Protection, and Metropolitan Integration: The Hope of the Minneapolis Desegregation Settlement, 24 Law and Inequality 269 (2006)
  • Land Use and Housing Policies to Reduce Concentrated Poverty and Racial Segregation, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal 877 (2006)
  • Racial Integration and Community Revitalization: Applying the Fair Housing Act to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, 58 Vanderbilt Law Review 1747 (2005)
  • Segregation and Environmental Justice, 7 Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology 147 (2005)
  • Comment, 13 Housing Policy Debate 659 (2003) (commenting on Scott A. Bollen, In Through the Back Door: Social Equity and Regional Governance, 13 Housing Policy Debate 631 (2003))
  • Metropolitics: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability, 28:2 Forum for Social Economics 33 (Mar. 1999)
  • Suburbs in Flux, 57 Urban Land 42 (1998) Jonathan Miller
  • Economic and Racial Polarization in Twin Cities Schools, 17 Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy 271 (1996)
  • Deterrence, Perjury, and the Heater Factor: An Exclusionary Rule in the Chicago Criminal Courts, 63 University of Colorado Law Review 75 (1992)
  • The Exclusionary Rule and Deterrence: An Empirical Study of Chicago Police Narcotics Officers, 54 University of Chicago Law Review 1016 (1987) (comment)

Book Chapters

  • Fair Housing and Stable Suburban Integration, in The Fight for Fair Housing: Causes, Consequences, and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act (Gregory D. Squires, ed., Routledge, 2018) Will Stancil
  • Failed Promises: Assessing Charter Schools in the Twin Cities, in Educational Delusions?: Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair (Gary Orfield, Erica Frankenberg & Associates, eds., University of California Press, 2013) Baris Gumus-Dawes & Thomas Luce
  • The State of Public Schools in Post-Katrina New Orleans: The Challenge of Creating Equal Opportunity, in Educational Delusions?: Why Choice Can Deepen Inequality and How to Make Schools Fair (Gary Orfield & Erica Frankenberg, eds., University of California Press, 2013) Baris Gumus-Dawes & Thomas Luce
  • Dividing Lines: East Versus West in Minneapolis Suburbs, in The Resegregation of Suburban Schools: A Hidden Crisis in American Education (Erica Frankenberg & Gary Orfield, eds., Harvard Education Press, 2012) Baris Gumus-Dawes & Thomas Luce
  • Linking Housing and School Integration to Growth Management, in Integrating Schools in a Changing Society: New Policies and Legal Options for a Multiracial Generation (Erica Frankenberg & Elizabeth Debray, eds., University of North Carolina Press, 2011)
  • Beyond Segregation: Toward a Shared Vision of Our Regions, in Breakthrough Communities: Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis (M. Paloma Pavel, ed., MIT Press, 2009)
  • Governing American Metropolitan Areas: Spatial Policy and Regional Governance, in Megaregions: Planning for Global Competitiveness (Catherine L. Ross, ed., Island Press, 2009) Thomas F. Luce & Jr.
  • Impediments to the Integration of Immigrants: A Case Study in the Twin Cities, in Twenty-First Century Gateways: Immigrant Incorporation in Suburban America (Audrey Singer, Susan Wiley Hardwick & Caroline Brettell, eds., Brookings Institution Press, 2008) Katherine Fennelly
  • Atlanta Metropatterns: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability, in Urban Sprawl: A Comprehensive Reference Guide (David Soule, ed., Greenwood Press, 2006)
  • Building Regional Coalitions between Cities and Suburbs, in Growing Smarter: Achieving Livable Communities, Environmental Justice, and Regional Equity (Robert D. Bullard, ed., MIT Press, 2006)
  • The Region: The True City, in Toward the Livable City (Emilie Buchwald, ed., Milkweed Editions, 2003)
  • Politics and Regionalism, in Urban Sprawl: Causes, Consequences & Policy Responses (Gregory D. Squires, ed., Urban Institute Press, 2002)
  • Tax Equity and Land Use, in Charter of the New Urbanism (Michael Leccese & Kathleen McCormick, eds., McGraw Hill, 2000)
  • The Need for Coalition, in Metro Futures: Economic Solutions for Cities and Their Suburbs (Daniel D. Luria & Joel Rogers, eds., Beacon Press, 1999)
  • The Need for Tax Base Sharing, in The Value of Land: Annual Review (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 1998) (debate with Professor William Fischel)
  • Model Tax Sharing Legislation Statute, in Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change (American Planning Association, Phase I interim ed., 1996)
  • Tax Equity Devices and Tax Relief Programs, in Growing Smart Legislative Guidebook: Model Statutes for Planning and the Management of Change (American Planning Association, Phase I interim ed., 1996)

Documents and Reports

  • Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity Studies and Presentations

Other Publications

  • When the Feds Won’t Act: School Desegregation, State Courts, and Minnesota’s The Choice is Yours Program, 17 Poverty & Race (bimonthly newsletter of the Poverty & Race Research Action Council) (Jan./Feb. 2008) Baris Gumus-Dawes
  • Expanding Educational Opportunity Through School and Housing Choice, 37 CURA Reporter 19 (Summer 2007) Nicholas Wallace
  • Access to Growing Job Centers in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area, 36 CURA Reporter 3 (Spring 2006) Thomas Luce & Jill Mazullo
  • An Activist’s Guide to Metropolitics: Building Coalitions for Reform in America’s Metropolitan Areas (Metropolitan Area Research Corporation, Oct. 2003) Thomas Luce
  • Regional Coalition-Building and the Inner Suburbs, Shelterforce (Jan./Feb. 1998)
  • Conflict or Consensus?: Forty Years of Minnesota Metropolitan Politics, 16:4 Brookings Review 31 (Fall 1998)
  • Metropolitics: Coalitions for Regional Reform, 15:1 Brookings Review 6 (Winter 1997)
  • The “Push-Pull” of Regional Polarization, Lusk Forum (University of Southern California Lusk Center for Real Estate) (1997)

Selected Legal Briefs

  • Brief for the Townships of Pennsauken and Montclair, New Jersey, In re Adoption of N.J.A.C. 5:96 and 5:97, No. 67,126; A-90/91/92/93/94 (June 15, 2011)
  • Brief for Myron Orfield et al., as Amici Curiae Supporting Plaintiffs, Jackson v. MERS Inc., 770 N.W.2d 487 (2009) (Minn. filed Apr. 21, 2008)
  • Brief for Housing Scholars and Research & Advocacy Organizations as Amici Curiae Supporting Respondents, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, 127 S.Ct. 2738 (2006) (U.S. filed Oct. 10, 2006)
  • Brief for Myron Orfield and john a. powell as Amici Curiae Supporting Appellants, In re Adoption of the 2003 Low Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Allocation Plan, 369 N.J. Super. 2, 848 A.2d 1 (2004)

Contact Information

University of Minnesota Law School

Walter F. Mondale Hall | 229 19th Avenue South | Minneapolis, MN 55455

P: 612-625-5000

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