Marc Poirier   

Professor Marc Poirier

Professor of Law

  • Degrees:

  • LL.M., Yale Law School |
  • J.D., Harvard Law School |
  • B.A., Yale University

Marc Poirier was a Professor of Law and the Martha Traylor Research Scholar at Seton Hall Law. He taught and wrote in the areas of property theory, environmental and natural resources management, cultural property, and law, gender, and sexuality. Though these issues appear wide-ranging, they share a common theme: they are all fundamental to everyday human flourishing, and they all require an ongoing balancing of individual uses in light of shared interests in or dependence on a resource.

For several years he taught a class for law students on-site in New Orleans on the BP Deepwater Horizon Blowout & Oil Spill. This course examined the legal issues surrounding the blowout and spill and its effects, including the multidistrict litigation now underway in federal court in New Orleans, putting these issues in the context of the culture and economy of South Louisiana as well as the world at large.

Professor Poirier’s scholarship brings insights from sociology, psychology, history, cultural theory, literary theory, and feminism to bear on contemporary legal issues. His recent article, The Cultural Property Claim within the Same-Sex Marriage Controversy, was a top ten download in the field of family law for more than a year, and won a Dukeminier Award as one of the best law review articles of 2008 in the field of law and sexual orientation. Professor Poirier has become a sought-after speaker on the topic of the legal recognition of same-sex couples. An earlier law review article analyzing the gender politics involved in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (U.S. 2000) also won a Dukeminier Award, in 2003. In the environmental area, Professor Poirier was recently co-counsel on an amicus brief to the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of conservation interests, supporting a state law that protects hundreds of thousands of acres of pristine watershed land from urban sprawl. He has written about and advised environmental advocacy groups on the public trust doctrine and the scope of permissible regulatory takings. A recent article in the area of coastal land management argued that place-based public art has a unique role to play in the communication of the risk of sea level rise due to global warming. For several years Professor Poirier taught a survey course in environmental law to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Professor Poirier has served on the boards of the Society of American Law Teachers, The Coastal Society, and Diamond Metta Lesbian and Gay Buddhists of New York. He recently joined the Steering Committee of a Contemplative Lawyers Group based in New York City. He anchors a meditation group that meets regularly at the Law School. He has been the Chair of two sections of the Association of American Law Schools, Property and Law and Interpretation. Professor Poirier also served for six years on his local Planning Board in South Orange, New Jersey.

For twelve years Professor Poirier practiced law in Washington, D.C., with the firm of Spiegel & McDiarmid, specializing in the licensing of hydroelectric projects and other energy regulatory matters. He has twice served as the Chair of the Hydroelectric Regulation section of the Energy Bar Association. He majored in Literature as an undergraduate at Yale, where he graduated magna cum laude with distinction in 1974. He then lived in Paris, France, working for a French oil pipeline engineering company. He graduated from Harvard Law School cum laude in 1978, where he was an Articles Editor on the Harvard International Law Journal. He received an L.L.M. from Yale Law School in 1991.



“Whiffs of Federalism” in Windsor v. United States: Power, Localism, and Kulturkampf, 85 Colo. L. Rev. 935 (2014)

Brazilian Regularization of Title in Light of the Right of Moradia, Compared to United States Understandings of Homelessness and Homeownership, 44 University of Miami Inter-American Law Review (2013)

Regional Ocean Governance Symposium: Legal and Policy Solutions for the Mid-Atlantic Ocean – Introduction to the Special Issue, 6(1) Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal 1 (2013) (with Tony MacDonald)

Essay, Place, Space, and Territory as Frontiers for LGBTQ Scholarship, 19 Law & Sexuality 108 (2010)

One L in a Different Voice: Becoming a Gay Male Feminist at Harvard Law School, 78 U. Mo. K.C. L. Rev. 1063 (2010)

Name Calling: Identifying Stigma and the “Civil Union” / “Marriage” Distinction, 41 Conn. L. Rev. 1425 (2009)

Gender, Place, Discursive Space: Where is Same-Sex Marriage?, 3 Florida Int'l U. L. Rev. 307 (2008)

Microperformances of Identity: Visible Same Sex Couples and the Marriage Controversy, 15 Wash. & Lee J. Civil Rights & Social Justice 3 (2008)

Natural Resources, Congestion and the Feminist Future: Aspects of Frischman's Theory of Infrastructure, 35 Ecology L. Q. 179 (2008)

Same-Sex Marriage, Identity Processes, and the Kulturkampf: Why Federalism is Not the Main Event, 17 Temple Political. & Civil Rights L. Rev. 387 (2008)

The Cultural Property Claim Within the Same Sex Marriage Controversy, 17 Columbia Gender & L. 343 (2008)

A Very Clear Blue Line: Behavioral Economics, Public Choice, Public Art and Sea Level Rise, 16 Southeastern Envt'l L. J. 83 (2007)

Piecemeal and Wholesale Approaches Towards Marriage Equality in New Jersey: Is Lewis v. Harris a Dead End or Just a Detour?, 59 Rutgers L. Rev. 291 (2007)

Modified Private Property: New Jersey's Public Trust Doctrine, Private Development and Exclusion, and Shared Public Uses of Natural Resources, 15 Southeastern Envt'l L. J. 71 (2006)

Hastening the Kulturkampf: Boy Scouts of America v. Dale and the Politics of American Masculinity, 12 Law & Sexuality 271 (2003)

Is Cognitive Bias at Work a Dangerous Condition on Land?, 7 Employee Rights & Employment L. J. 459 (2003)

The NAFTA Chapter 11 Expropriation Debate Through the Eyes of a Property Theorist, 35 Envt'l. L. 851 (2003)

"It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times...:" Science, Rhetoric and Distribution in a Risky World, 53 Case W. Res. L. Rev. 409 (2002)

The Virtue of Vagueness in Takings Doctrine, 24 Cardozo L. Rev. 93 (2002)

Gender Stereotypes at Work, 65 Brooklyn L. Rev. 1073 (1999)

Introduction: Facing the Passaic, 29 Seton Hall L. Rev. 1 (1998)

Property, Environment, Community, 12 J. Envt'l L. & Lit. 43 (1997)

Environmental Justice and the Beach Access Movements of the 1970s in Connecticut and New Jersey: Stories of Property and Civil Rights, 28 Conn. L. Rev. 719 (1996)

On Whose Authority?: Linguists' Claim of Expertise to Interpret Statutes, 73 Wash. U. L. Q. 1025 (1995)

Environmental Justice/Racism/Equity: Can We Talk?, 96 W. Va. L. Rev. 1083 (1994)

Takings and Natural Hazards Policy: Public Choice on the Beachfront, 46 Rutgers L. Rev. 243 (1993)

Public Preference and the Relicensing of Hydroelectric Projects, 21 Harv. J. Legis. 459 (1984) (with Jane Hardin)


Federalism and Localism in Kelo and San Remo, in Private Property, Community Development, and Eminent Domain, (Robin Paul Malloy ed.) (2008)

Wetlands and Land Use, in Casebook on Zoning, Planning and Land Use Law in New Jersey, (David D. Furman) (1996)