John P. Elwood

  • Lecturer

John P. Elwood is a partner at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C., where he is the head of the firm's appellate and Supreme Court practice. He has argued nine cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, and has argued before most of the federal courts of appeals. He served as senior deputy in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2005 until 2009 and served as an assistant to the Solicitor General from 2002 until 2005. Previously, he was an attorney in the department’s Criminal Division, where he argued cases in the federal courts of appeals and tried criminal cases in federal district court. Elwood also represented the Justice Department as an ex officio member of the U.S. Sentencing Commission and as a member of the Advisory Committee on Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Elwood has received both the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service and the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service — the Justice Department’s two top awards for lawyers.

After graduating from law school, Elwood clerked for Judge J. Daniel Mahoney of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. In 2001, he taught a seminar at the George Washington University School of Law titled “Constitutional Law and the Supreme Court.”


  • J.D.
    Yale Law School
  • M.A.
    King's College
  • A.B.
    Princeton University


"What Were They Thinking: The Supreme Court in Revue," 12 Green Bag 2d 429 (2009) (October Term 2008), 4 Green Bag 2d 365 (2001) (October Term 2000); 4 Green Bag 2d 27 (2000) (October Term 1999).

"Section 666, the Spending Power and the Federalization of Criminal Law" (with Richard W. Garnett),The Champion, 2001, 26. 

"The Independent Counsel Statute" (with Herbert J. Miller, Jr.), 62 L. & Contemp. Probs.111 (1999). 

"Rethinking Government Participation in Urban Renewal," 12 Yale L. & Pol'y Rev. 138 (1994).

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