Assistant Professor of Law
Professor Merritt McAlister teaches and writes in the areas of federal courts, civil procedure, statutory interpretation, and constitutional law. Her scholarship focuses on judicial candor, transparency, and access to justice. Her current work considers the impact of nonprecedential decisionmaking in the federal courts of appeals.
Prior to joining the University of Florida law faculty, McAlister was a partner in the national appellate practice group of King & Spalding. While in private practice, McAlister was elected into the American Law Institute, named a Georgia Super Lawyer, and recognized for her pro bono work on behalf of prisoners and on LGBT civil rights issues.
McAlister clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens of the Supreme Court of the United States and Judge R. Lanier Anderson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She received her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude from Rice University and her law degree summa cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law, where she served as Executive Articles Editor of the Georgia Law Review.
J.D., University of Georgia School of Law
B.A. in English and Women and Gender Studies, Rice University
- This course will focus on the difficult issues inherent in federal jurisdiction. These include the constitutional and other issues raised by federal question and diversity jurisdiction, supplemental jurisdiction, the Erie Doctrine, abstention, and the federal common law.
- Analysis of a civil lawsuit from commencement through trial, including consideration of jurisdiction, venue, pleading, motions, discovery, and joinder of parties and of claims; right to trial by jury, selection and instruction of jury, respective roles of judge, jury, and lawyer; trial and post-trial motions; judgments.
- Recommended: Constitutional Law (LAW 5501) and Constitutional Law II (LAW 6502). Analysis of the federal judicial system and its relationship to the state’s judicial systems, including consideration of the applicable jurisdictional, procedural and substantive law.
- This is an advanced constitutional law course that examines the evolving legal rights of the LGBTQ community. It explores the historical evolution of constitutional doctrines of privacy and equality as they have evolved to protect LGBTQ individuals. It brings these issues into the present-day, by considering legal battles over religious freedom and nondiscrimination laws, the protection of LGBTQ individuals under employment discrimination law, and the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people. It will examine these issues critically, including by addressing concerns over federalism, free exercise, the democratic process, and the proper role of the courts.
- “Downright Indifference”: Examining Unpublished Decisions in the Federal Courts of Appeals, 118 Mich. L. Rev. ____ (forthcoming 2020)
- Measuring How Stock Ownership Affects Which Judges (and Justices) Hear Cases, 103 Geo. L.J. 1163 (2015), with James M. Anderson and Eric Helland
- Note, The Swift, Silent Sword Hiding in the (Defense) Attorney’s Arsenal: The Efficacy of Georgia’s New Offer of Judgment Provision as Procedural Tort Reform, 40 Ga. L. Rev. 995 (2006)