Brian G. Slocum

Slocum headshot

Brian G. Slocum

Stearns Weaver Miller Professor
Contact Information

Florida State University
College of Law
Main Classroom Building, Room 237
Phone: 850.644.7294


Ph.D., Linguistics, University of California, Davis, 2014
M.A., Linguistics, University of California, Davis, 2012
J.D., Harvard University, 1999
B.B.A., Pacific Union College, 1996

Brian G. Slocum joined the FSU College of Law faculty during the summer of 2023, and he will teach Language and Legal Interpretation in the fall. Slocum’s research and teaching experience lie in legislation/statutory interpretation, language and law, administrative law, and contracts. He comes to FSU Law from the University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law, where he held the titles of distinguished professor of law and associate dean for scholarship. He has also served as a visiting professor at Stanford Law School, University of California Berkeley School of Law, and University of California Davis School of Law. Slocum has won numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship. 

Slocum is the author of “Ordinary Meaning: A Theory of the Most Fundamental Principle of Legal Interpretation" (University of Chicago Press 2015), the editor of "Inference, Intention and 'Ordinary Meaning': What jurists can learn about legal interpretation from linguistics and philosophy" (University of Chicago Press 2017), and a co-editor of “Justice Scalia: Rhetoric and the Rule of Law” (University of Chicago Press 2019). He also has published numerous articles in top law journals, including the Columbia Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Yale Journal of International Law, and New York University Law Review. Prior to entering academia, Slocum worked at the U.S. Department of Justice and clerked for the Honorable Frank Magill, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.


Select Recent and Forthcoming Publications

The Linguistic and Substantive Canons (with Kevin Tobia), __ Harvard Law Review Forum __ (forthcoming 2023)

Textualism's Defining Moment (with Willian N. Eskridge Jr. & Kevin Tobia), 123 Colum. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2023)

Fair Notice and Criminalizing Abortions (with Nadia Banteka), __ J. Crim. L. & Criminology __ (forthcoming 2023)

Ordinary Meaning and Ordinary People (with Kevin Tobia & Victoria Nourse), 171 U. Penn. L. Rev. 365 (2023)

Unmasking Textualism: Linguistic Misunderstanding in the Transit Mask Order Case and Beyond (with Stefan Th. Gries, Michael Kranzlein, Nathan Schneider & Kevin Tobia), 122 Colum. L. Rev. Forum 192 (2022)

Progressive Textualism (with Kevin Tobia & Victoria Nourse), 110 Geo. L.J. 1439 (2022)

Statutory Interpretation from the Outside (with Kevin Tobia & Victoria Nourse), 122 Colum. L. Rev. 213 (2022)

The Meaning of Sex: Dynamic Words, Novel Applications, and Original Public Meaning (with William N. Eskridge Jr. & Stefan Th. Gries), 119 Mich. L. Rev. 1503 (2021)

The Vienna Convention and the Ordinary Meaning of International Law (with Jarrod Wong), 46 Yale J. of Int’l Law 191 (2021)

Reforming the Canon of Constitutional Avoidance, 23 U. Penn. J. Const. L. 593 (2021)

Big Data and Accuracy in Statutory Interpretation, 86 Brook. L. Rev. 357 (2021)

Judging Corpus Linguistics (with Stefan Th. Gries), 94 S. Cal. L. Rev. Postscript 13 (2020)