Professor Dickinson's teaching and scholarship specializes in constitutional law, civil rights, property, and race and the law. His scholarship has featured in numerous respected law reviews, including Ohio State Law Journal, University of Miami Law Review, Cardozo Law Review, Duke Journal of Constitutional Law and Public Policy, Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy, Georgetown Journal of National Security Law & Policy, and the NYU Journal of Law and Liberty. His scholarly work has been cited by U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Third and Sixth Circuits, in amicus briefs filed by Former Members of Congress in federal courts, and his scholarly work as a Fulbright Scholar has been cited by the High Court of South Africa.
Prior to joining the academy, Professor Dickinson served as a law clerk for the Honorable Theodore A. McKee, former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. He practiced at Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh, where he founded and coordinated the Housing Rights Project, a pro bono initiative advocating on behalf of indigent tenants in eviction proceedings in Allegheny County in collaboration with the Neighborhood Legal Services Association. Professor Dickinson is a former Fulbright Scholar to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he studied comparative constitutional law and housing with faculty at the University of Witswatersrand School of Law and worked as a human rights activist organizing and representing squatters in eviction proceedings with lawyers at the University’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies.
Professor Dickinson is widely considered to be one of the leading experts on congressional and executive powers. In 2017, he was invited to submit written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs regarding executive orders and congressional conflicts over the US-Mexico border wall dispute. Professor Dickinson published numerous op-eds in national outlets addressing the legality of the US-Mexico border wall and has been invited to join national and international scholars at conferences to address the legal implications of national emergency declarations.
Professor Dickinson has frequently appeared in national and international news outlets, such as the New York Times, The Washington Post, US Today, Rolling Stone, Roll Call, Boston Globe, Austin American-Statesman, Washington Examiner, Bloomberg, BBC-News, BBC-UK, The Hill, The Atlantic, and MSNBC. He also regularly appears on local television and radio stations, such as WTAE, KDKA, WPXI, and WESA, and in local print outlets such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and City Paper.
Professor Dickinson also has extensive litigation and transactional pro bono experience. He‘s represented indigent tenants in eviction proceedings and conducted fair housing civil rights litigation in state court. Professor Dickinson represented a non-profit organization to establish a community land trust in a predominantly Black neighborhood. He served as legal counsel for an activist organization pursuing a ballot referendum to overhaul a local police department. Professor Dickinson has also advised a local historic Black church in past discrimination claims. Professor regularly attends and speaks at protests and rallies throughout the region on issues related to racial justice and human rights.
Professor Dickinson is a former congressional candidate. In 2020 and 2022, he ran for the Democratic nominations in two high-profile federal elections for Pennsylvania's 12th and 18th Congressional Districts on platforms involving racial justice, healthcare reform, climate change, gun control, criminal justice reform and affordable housing. Professor Dickinson raised over one million in campaign contributions from 100% individual donations.
- The Constitutional Puzzle of the Fourth Amendment’s Doctrinal Home (expected 2023).
- The Centripetal Force of Exactions Jurisprudence (expected 2023).
- Reviving Liberal Constitutionalism With Originalism in Emergency Powers Doctrine 12 J. Nat’l Sec. L. & Pol’y 203 (2021).
- Intratextual and Intradoctrinal Dimensions of the Constitutional Home, 15 Duke J. Const. L. & Pub. Pol’y 291-321 (2020).
- The Puzzle of the Constitutional Home, 80 Ohio St. L.J. 1099 (2019).
- State Constitutional General Welfare Doctrine, 40 Cardozo L. Rev. 2943 (2019).
- Federalism, Convergence and Divergence in Constitutional Property, 73 U. Miami L. Rev. 139 (2018).
- Cooperative Federalism & Federal Takings After the Trump Administration's Border Wall Executive Order, 70 Rutgers U. L. Rev. 647 (2018).
- Property Musings at the US-Mexico Border, 33 Md. J. Int'l L. 162 (2018) (Symposium Invitation).
- Written Testimony of Gerald S. Dickinson for the Senate Hearing on Fencing Along the Southwest Border, (Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, April 4, 2017).
- Landowners' FCC Dilemma: Rereading the Supreme Court's Armstrong Opinion After the Third Circuit's DePolo Ruling, 11 N.Y.U. J.L. & Liberty 218 (2017).
- Inclusionary Takings Legislation, 62 Vill. L. Rev. 135 (2017).
- Towards a New Eviction Jurisprudence, 23 Geo. J. on Poverty L. & Pol'y 1 (2015).<
- Inclusionary Eminent Domain, 45 Loy. U. Chi. L.J. 845 (2014)
- The Blue Moonlight Remedy: Formulating the Voucher Scheme into A New Emergency Housing Remedy in South Africa, 130 S. African L.J. 554 (2013).
- Stasis and Change in Environmental Law, 24 Fordham Envtl. L. Rev. 1 (2013).
- Blue Moonlight Rising: Evictions, Alternative Accommodation & A Comparative Perspective on Affordable Housing Solutions in Johannesburg, 27 S. Afr. J. on Hum. Rts 466 (2011).
- The National Emergencies Act was never meant for something like Trump’s wall, The Washington Post, Jan. 31, 2019.
- What Trump Can and Can’t Do to Get His Border Wall, The Atlantic, Jan. 8, 2019.
- Trump's militarized land seizure for border wall is more complicated than 'I can do it if I want', The Hill, Jan. 7, 2019.
- The Founders would have opposed seizing land for Trump’s border wall, Washington Post, Nov. 29, 2017.
- Affordable Housing in Pittsburgh: The importance of framing a legally sound inclusionary zoning proposal, Public Source, May 17, 2017.
- The biggest problem for Trump’s border wall isn’t money. It’s getting the land, Washington Post, Mar. 3, 2017.
- Forget the funding for the wall, Trump needs the land first, The Hill, Aug. 25, 2017.