John-Paul Schnapper-Casteras

Special Counsel for Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy


John Paul Schnapper-Casteras is LDF’s Special Counsel for Appellate and Supreme Court Advocacy.  In this role, he works with LDF attorneys on strategic development and preparation of appellate and Supreme Court briefs. He also serves as Lead Counsel in litigation of civil rights cases and manages appellate court and Supreme Court amicus brief strategy as well as complex Federal and State court civil rights cases.

Prior to coming to LDF, Schnapper-Casteras worked as an Associate at the Washington law firm Sidley Austin, where he focused on appellate representation and complex commercial litigation. In that role, he co-authored amicus briefs in several recent LDF Supreme Court cases, including Fisher v. UT-Austin and Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action. He also co-authored a Supreme Court brief on behalf of lesbian and gay servicemembers in the landmark U.S. v. Windsor case, in which the Court found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Schnapper-Casteras served as a law clerk to the Honorable Roger L. Gregory of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and as a law clerk to the Honorable Scott W. Stucky of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.  He is currently a fellow at Georgetown University Law Center and co-chair of The Constitution Project’s Young Professional Committee.  In September 2013, he was named as one of the top 99 Foreign Policy Leaders Under 33 by Diplomatic Courier and Young Professionals in Foreign Policy. He has published on a range of international and domestic policy issues in The Washington PostPolitico, and other news outlets.

Schnapper-Casteras received his J.D. with Pro Bono Distinction from Stanford Law School, where he won the Walter J. Cummings Award for Best Brief as a finalist in the Kirkwood Moot Competition; was a member of the Supreme Court Litigation Clinic, and served as managing editor of the Stanford Law & Policy Review. He holds an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School and an M.A. in sociology and a B.A. with honors in political science from Stanford University.


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The Problem with Palmer

5/7/17  //  Commentary

In its Muslim Ban brief, DOJ favorably cites Palmer v. Thompson (1971)—which allowed Jackson, Mississippi to close public pools rather than integrate them. The Fourth Circuit should question DOJ about this stunning citation and make clear that Palmer, an odious ruling, has no place in anti-discrimination law today.

John-Paul Schnapper-Casteras