A native of Owensboro, Kentucky, Professor Denning earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and his law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Tennessee School of Law. He then spent two years in the health law group at Baker Donelson Bearman and Caldwell PC in Memphis.
Opportunity led Denning north in 1997 to Yale Law School where he took a position as a research associate and senior fellow. He earned an LL.M. from Yale in 1999. From 1999-2003, he taught at Southern Illinois University School of Law before joining the Cumberland School of Law faculty. During the summers, Denning has regularly taught constitutional law at the University of Tennessee College of Law and in Cumberland’s Study Abroad Program at Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University. He served as the associate dean for academic affairs at Cumberland from 2014-2020.
Denning writes in the area of constitutional law; specifically he has written on the Commerce Clause and the dormant commerce clause; judicial and executive branch appointments; the constitutional amendment process; foreign affairs and the Constitution; and the Second Amendment. He collaborated with Boris I. Bittker, Late Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale on Bittker on the Regulation of Interstate Commerce and Foreign Commerce (Aspen Law and Business 1999), and is the sole author of the second edition. In 2016, he published Guns and the Law: Cases, Materials, and Explanation (with Andrew Jay McClurg), a casebook published by Carolina Academic Press that covers various aspects of the legal regulation of firearms from the Second Amendment to the laws governing the use of deadly force.
Most recently, he has published the seventh edition of American Constitutional Law: Powers and Liberties, for which he is the successor author to the late Calvin Massey. He also recently combined two volumes of the previously-published The Glannon Guide to Constitution Law, publishing a third edition of The Glannon Guide to Constitutional Law: Powers and Liberties. All are published by Aspen Publishing. He also wrote Developing Professional Skills: Constitutional Law, an innovative text that furnishes materials allowing students to hone their drafting, analysis, and negotiation skills through constitutional law problems. In addition, he is the co-author of Becoming a Law Professor: A Candidate’s Guide, a soup-to-nuts guide for the aspiring legal academic. In 2023, the University Press of Kansas will publish The Advantage of Being Armed: The Second Amendment in American Culture, Politics, and Law which he co-authored with George Washington University law professor and legal historian Robert J. Cottrol.
Denning’s other writings have been published in Foreign Affairs, Constitutional Commentary, the Northwestern University Law Review, the William and Mary Law Review, the Minnesota Law Review, the American Journal of International Law, the Wisconsin Law Review, the Tulane Law Review, and Law and Contemporary Problems among other journals and periodicals. He was the recipient of the 2008 Harvey S. Jackson Excellence in Teaching Award for upper-level classes and of the Lightfoot, Franklin & White award for Faculty Scholarship, which he won in 2012, 2016, 2019, and 2021. In 2021, he was named in a University of Chicago Law Review article as one of the 20 most-cited young legal scholars in the country.
Teaching & Research Interests
Constitutional Law and the United States Supreme Court
Degrees and Certifications
- LL.M., Yale Law School
- J.D., magna cum laude, University of Tennessee School of Law
- B.A., magna cum laude, University of the South
Recent Publications and Works-in-Progress
The Advantage of Being Armed: The Second Amendment in American Culture, Politics, and Law (with Robert J. Cottrol) (forthcoming 2023).
Constitutional Law: Powers and Liberties (7th ed. 2023 & annual supplements) (with the late Calvin Massey).
Guns and the Law: Cases, Problems, and Explanation (with Andrew J. McClurg) (2016).
Ipse Dixits, Bootstraps, and Constitutional Doctrine, 74 Baylor L. Rev. ___ (forthcoming).
Can Judges Be Uncivilly Obedient?, 60 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1 (2018).