Nicole Stelle Garnett

Nicole Stelle Garnett

Associate Dean for External Engagement
John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law

Office: 3115 Eck Hall of Law
Phone: 574-631-3091
Fax: 574-631-8078
Staff Assistant: Alicia Cummins
CV: View
SSRN: View

Nicole Stelle Garnett's teaching and research focus on education policy and topics related to property law (especially land use and urban development policies). In addition to dozens of articles on these subjects, she is the author of two books, Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools' Importance in Urban America (University of Chicago Press, 2014) and Ordering the City: Land Use, Policing and the Restoration of Urban America (Yale University Press, 2009). Currently, she is engaged in an ambitious research effort in collaboration with scholars from around the world to gain a comprehensive understanding of the legal rules governing, and public funds available to, faith-based schools in the Global South.   

At Notre Dame, Garnett is a fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the Fitzgerald Institute for Real Estate, and the deNicola Center for Ethics and Culture. She also is the senior policy advisor for the Alliance for Catholic Education, a program engaged in a wide array of efforts to strengthen and sustain K-12 Catholic schools. From 2008-2010, she served as provost fellow at Notre Dame, and, during the Spring 2007 semester, as a visiting professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School. 

Garnett received her B.A. with distinction in Political Science from Stanford University and her J.D. from Yale Law School. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Morris S. Arnold of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and for Associate Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States. Before joining the law school faculty in 1999, she worked for two years as a staff attorney at the Institute for Justice, a non-profit public-interest law firm in Washington, D.C.

Courses Taught

LAW60906, Property

LAW70313, Law of Education

LAW70317, Local Government

LAW70345, Land Use Planning

LAW70525, Urban Property Law

LAW73301, State Constitutional Law

LAW73313, Higher Education Law



Lost Classrooms, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America (with Margaret Brinig) (University of Chicago Press, 2014) 

Ordering the City: Land Use, Policing and the Restoration of Urban America/ (Yale University Press, 2009) 

Selected Publications 

“Post-Accountability Accountability,” 52 Michigan Journal of Law Reform 158 (2018) 

Planning for Density: Promises, Perils and a Paradox,” 33 Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law 1 (2018) 

“Sector Agnosticism and the Coming Transformation of Education Law,” 70 Vanderbilt Law Review 1 (2017) 

"To Help, Not to Hurt: Justice Thomas’s Equality Canon," Yale Law Journal Forum, August 2, 2017 (with William Consovoy) 

Three Things: A Tribute to Judge Morris Sheppard Arnold,” 18 Green Bag 2d 255 (2015) 

“Disparate Impact, Public-School Closures and Parental Choice,” 2014 Chicago Legal Forum 289 (2014) 

Redeeming Transect Zoning?” 78 Brooklyn Law Review 571 (2013)

“Managing the Urban Commons,” 160 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1995 (2012) 

“Are Charters Enough Choice? School Choice and the Future of Catholic Schools,” 87 Notre Dame Law Review 1892 (2012) 

“Catholic Schools and Broken Windows,” with Margaret Brinig, 9 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 347 (2012) 

“Catholic Schools, Charter Schools, and Crime,” with Margaret Brinig, 79 University of Chicago Law Review 31 (2012) 

“The People Paradox,” 2012 University of Illinois Law Review 43 

“Affordable Private Education and the Middle Class City,” 77 University of Chicago Law Review 205 (2010) 

Unbundling Homeownership: Regional Reforms from the Inside Out,” 119 Yale Law Journal 1904 (2010) 

“‘No Taking without a Touching?’ Reflections of an Armchair Originalist,” 45 San Diego Law Review 761 (2008) 

Suburbs as Exit, Suburbs as Entrance,” 106 Michigan Law Review 277 (2007) 

Property In-Laws,” 156 University of Pennsylvania Law Review PENNumbra 279 (2007) 

“The Neglected Political Economy of Eminent Domain,” 105 Michigan Law Review 101 (2006) 

“Save the Cities, Stop the Suburbs?” 117 Yale Law Journal 599 (2006) 

“Relocating Disorder,” 91 Virginia Law Review 1075 (2005) 

“Ordering (and Order in) the City,” 57 Stanford Law Review 1 (2004) 

“Trouble Preserving Paradise?” 87 Cornell Law Review 158 (2001)

Areas of Expertise

  • Education Reform & Policy
  • Land Use Planning & Regulation
  • Local Government Law
  • Property Law
  • Regulatory Innovation/design/reform
  • School Choice
  • Urban & Economic Development

In the News

Women Lead 2019: Nicole Stelle Garnett (University feature), March 8, 2019

Nicole Stelle Garnett Offers Keynote at Holy Cross College Commencement, May 21, 2018 (Holy Cross College Commencement address)

Why this new Catholic school can save Baltimore, The Washington Examiner, May 8, 2018

How Faith-Based and Private Schools Can Help Chicago Youth, Time Magazine, August 22, 2017 (op-ed)