Peter J. Hammer

Peter J. Hammer

Director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights; Professor of Law; A. Alfred Taubman Endowed Chair


Room 3225
(313) 577-0830

Peter J. Hammer

  • Biography

    Peter J. Hammer was named the A. Alfred Taubman Endowed Chair at Wayne State University Law School in fall 2018. Hammer has taught at Wayne Law since 2003 and is the director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights. The Keith Center is dedicated to promoting the educational, economic and political empowerment of under-represented communities in urban areas and to ensuring that the phrase "equal justice under law" applies to all members of society. Hammer was instrumental in editing and compiling Judge Damon J. Keith’s biography, Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith (2013).

    Hammer has become a leading voice on the economic and social issues impacting the city of Detroit, and has added new courses to the law school curriculum on "Race, Law and Social Change in Southeast Michigan" and "Re-Imagining Development in Detroit: Institutions, Law & Society."

    Hammer has expertise in the fields of domestic health law and policy, as well as international public health and economic development. He is a recipient of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and served as lead editor for Uncertain Times: Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care, a book published by Duke University Press (2003). Combining his training as an economist and a lawyer, his most recent book, Change and Continuity at the World Bank: Reforming Paradoxes of Economic Development (2013), takes on questions of international economic growth and development. His scholarship also has examined the role of global health initiatives in health system development and how international law might further the objectives of global child health.

    Hammer has spent more than 25 years engaging issues of human rights, law and development in Cambodia. He was a founding board member and past president of Legal Aid of Cambodia, an organization providing free legal services to Cambodia's poor. He is presently a board member of the Center for Khmer Studies and the Life and Hope Association, an organization in Siem Reap, Cambodia, founded and run by Buddhists monks to address the needs of orphans, vulnerable children and at-risk young women.

    When in Southeast Michigan rather than Southeast Asia, Hammer is equally engaged in the community. He is a member of the board of directors of the ACLU of Michigan. He works actively with groups such as the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion, We the People of Detroit and the Detroit People’s Platform.

    Prior to entering academia, he was an associate at the Los Angeles office of O'Melveny & Myers, where he maintained an active practice in antitrust, health law and the presentation of expert economic testimony. Hammer earned his undergraduate degree at Gonzaga University and completed his professional and graduate studies at the University of Michigan, where he earned a J.D. and a Ph.D. (economics). Before entering private practice, he clerked for the Hon. Alfred T. Goodwin, former chief judge of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

    Hammer spent eight years on the faculty of the University of Michigan Law School. He was the first openly gay professor ever to be considered for tenure at the law school and the first male in the living memory of the institution to be denied tenure. The final vote was 18 in favor of tenure and 12 opposed (2 votes short of the required two-thirds majority). Hammer tells the story of his experiences attempting to internally grieve the tenure denial in an article, In the Shadow of Gratz and Grutter: Grieving Diversity at the University of Michigan.

  • Degrees and Certifications

    J.D., Ph.D. (economics), University of Michigan
    B.A., B.A., B.S., Gonzaga University

  • Courses Taught

    Race Law & Social Change in Southeast Michigan
    Re-Imagining Development in Detroit: Institutions, Law & Society
    International Organizations & Public Health
    Health Care Organizations & Finance
    Health Care Quality, Licensing & Liability
    Health Policy: The Firm, The Market & The Law

  • Selected publications

    In the Shadow of Gratz and Grutter: Grieving Diversity at the University of Michigan, 2 Midwest Black Law Students Association Law Journal

    The Chinese in Cambodia: Economic and Political Inclusion and Exclusion in the Post. Independence Era, International Review of Modern Sociology

    Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith (Peter J. Hammer, ed., with Trevor W. Coleman) (Wayne State University Press) (2013)

    Change and Continuity at the World Bank: Reforming Paradoxes of Economic Development (Edward Elgar) (2013)

    Contracting Illness: Reassessing International Donor-Initiated Health Service Experiments in Cambodia's Indigenous Periphery, 21 Southeast Asian Research 457 (2013) (with Ian G. Baird)

    Health (R)evolution: (Quality = Learning) + (Ethics = Justice), 10 Ind. Health L. Rev. 415 (2013)

    Global Health Initiatives and Health System Development: The Historic Quest for Positive Synergies, 9 Ind. Health L. Rev. 567 (2012) (with Charla M. Burill)

    International Law, Governance and Global Children's Health, in Textbook of Pediatric Global Health (Deepak Kamat, ed.) (American Academy of Pediatrics) (2012)

    Governance: Structuring our Future, 13 The Journal of Law in Society 3 (2011)

    The Fate of the Detroit Public Schools: Governance, Finance and Competition, 13 The Journal of Law in Society 111 (2011)

    Diagnosing America's Healthcare Ills: Analysis Beyond Epithet, 15 J. Law & Med. 337 (2011)

    International Law, Public Health and Addiction, in Principles of Addiction and the Law (Norman S. Miller, ed.) (American Psychiatric Association) (Elsevier) (2010)

    Complex Adaptive Systems: The Narrow Horizons of Malpractice Reform, 14 J. Law & Med. 477 (2010)

    Introduction: Living on the Margins: Minorities and Borderlines in Cambodia and Southeast Asia in Living on the Margins: Minorities and Borderlines in Cambodia and Southeast Asia (Peter J. Hammer, ed.) (Center for Khmer Studies) (2009)

    Development as Tragedy: The Asian Development Bank and Indigenous Peoples in Cambodia, in Living on the Margins: Minorities and Borderlines in Cambodia and Southeast Asia (Peter J. Hammer, ed.) (Center for Khmer Studies) (2009)

    The Architecture of Health Care Markets: Economic Sociology and Antitrust Law, HOUS. J. HEALTH L & POLICY (2007)

    The Trials of Tenofovir: Mediating the Ethics of Third-World Research, 4 U. SANTA CLARA J. INT'L. (2006); 9 U. TECH. SYDNEY L. REV. 184 (2005) (with Tammy Sue Lundstrom)

    Competition and Quality as Dynamic Processes in the Balkans of American Health Care, 31 J. HEALTH POLITICS, POLICY & LAW 473 (Special Issue, Evaluation of DOJ/FTC Report Improving Health Care: A Dose of Competition Peter D. Jacobson and David A. Hyman, eds.) (2006)

    Slaying Dragons: Malpractice Beyond Myth, Review of The Medical Malpractice Myth by Tom Baker, 25(1) HEALTH AFFAIRS 289 (January/February 2006)

    Medical Code Blue or Blue Light Special: Where is the Market for Indigent Care?, 6 J.L. Soc'y 82 (2005)

    The Elusive Face of Cambodian Justice, in AWAITING JUSTICE: ESSAYS ON ACCOUNTABILITY IN CAMBODIA (Beth Van Shaack, ed.) (Mellon Press) (2005)

    Competition Law in Cambodia, in COMPETITION LAW AND POLICY IN ASIAN COUNTRIES, (G.Sivalingam, ed.) (Consumer International) (2004)

    Monopsony as an Agency and Regulatory Problem in Health Care, 71 ANTITRUST L. J. 949 (2004) (with William M. Sage)

    Struck Down: State "Any Willing Provider" Laws Frustrate HMO Ability to Offer Care, editorial in LOS ANGELES DAILY JOURNAL at A6 (February 3, 2003)

    Critical Issues in Hospital Antitrust Law, 22(6) HEALTH AFFAIRS 88 (November/December 2003) (with William M. Sage)

    Institutional Economics for Health Policy?, Review of The Economic Dynamics of Environmental Law by David M. Driesen, 22(2) HEALTH AFFAIRS 277 (March/April 2003)

    A Copernican View of Health Care Antitrust, 65 LAW & CONTEMP. PROBS. 241 (Special Issue: Is the Health Care Revolution Over?, Clark C. Havighurst, ed.) (2002) (with William M. Sage)

    Antitrust, Health Care Quality, and the Courts, 102 COLUM. L. REV. 545 (2002) (with William M. Sage)

    How Doctors Became Distributors: A Fabled Story of Vertical Relations, (AALS Antitrust Law Section, Guilds at the Millennium: Antitrust and the Professions) 14 LOY. CONSUMER L. REP. 411 (2002)

    The Pricing of Essential Aids Drugs: Markets, Politics and Public Health, 5(4) J. INT'L ECON. LAW 883 (Special Issue: International Trade Law and Public Health, Gregg Bloche, ed..) (2002)

    Medical Antitrust Reform: Arrow, Coase and the Changing Structure of the Firm, in THE PRIVATIZATION OF HEALTH CARE REFORM, at 113 (Gregg Bloche, ed.) (Oxford University Press) (2002)

    Rush Prudential HMO v. Moran: The Need for a Consistent Theory of ERISA Health Care Regulation, HEALTH LAW NEWS at 5 (October 2002)

    Health Care Quality and Antitrust Law: Lessons from the Cases, in 2002 HEALTH LAW HANDBOOK at 549 (Alice G. Gosfield, ed) (West Group) (2002) (with William Sage)

    Introduction: "Why Arrow? Why Now?, 26(5) J. HEALTH POLITICS, POLICY & LAW 835 (Special Issue, Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care, Peter J. Hammer, Deborah Haas-Wilson, and William M. Sage, eds.) (2001)

    Arrow's Analysis of Social Institutions: Entering the Marketplace with Giving Hands? 26(5) J. HEALTH POLITICS, POLICY & LAW 1011 (Special Issue, Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care, Peter J. Hammer, Deborah Haas-Wilson, and William M. Sage, eds.) (2001)

    Pegram v. Herdrich: On Peritonitis, Preemption and the Elusive Goal of Managed Care Accountability, 26(4) J. HEALTH POLITICS, POLICY & LAW 767 (2001)

    Antitrust Beyond Competition: Market Failures, Total Welfare and the Challenge of Intra-Market Second Best Tradeoffs, 98 MICH. L. REV. 849 (2000)

    Assisted Suicide and the Challenge of Individually Determined Collective Rationality, in LAW AT THE END OF LIFE: THE SUPREME COURT AND ASSISTED SUICIDE, (Carl Schneider, ed.) (University of Michigan Press) (2000)

    Killing the Khmer Rouge?, J. OF THE INT'L INSTITUTE at 1 (Vol. 7, no.2, Winter 2000) (University of Michigan)

    Questioning Traditional Antitrust Presumptions: Price and Non-Price Competition in Hospital Markets, (Symposium Issue, What's the Prognosis: Managed Care in the Next Century), 32 MICH. J. L. REF. 727 (1999)

    Competing on Quality of Care: The Need to Develop a Competition Policy for Health Care Markets, (Symposium Issue, What's the Prognosis: Managed Care in the Next Century), 32 MICH. J. L. REF. 1069 (1999) (with William M. Sage)

    Price and Quality Competition in Health Care Markets: The Comparative Institutional Case Against an Antitrust Exemption for Medical Self-Regulation, in ACHIEVING QUALITY IN MANAGED CARE: THE ROLE OF LAW, 123-53 (John D. Blum, ed.) (Health Law Section ABA) (June 1997)

    Destroying the Village, PHNOM PENH POST, 10 (September 12-25, 1997)

    Help Cambodia: Period of Turmoil is no Time to Cut Back on U.S. Assistance, DETROIT FREE PRESS, A15 (July 31, 1997)

    Free Speech and the Acid Bath: An Evaluation and Critique of Judge Richard Posner's Economic Interpretation of the First Amendment, 87 MICH. L. REV. 499 (1988)

  • Social Science Research Network
  • Books
    Book jacket for "No Equal Justice": The Legacy of Civil Rights Icon George W. Crockett Jr.

    "No Equal Justice": The Legacy of Civil Rights Icon George W. Crockett Jr. (Wayne State University Press) 2022 Written by Edward J. Littlejohn and Peter J. Hammer 

    "There is no equal justice for Black people today; there never has been. To our everlasting shame, the quality of justice in America has always been and is now directly related to the color of one's skin as well as to the size of one's pocketbook." This quote comes from George W. Crockett Jr.'s essay, "A Black Judge Speaks" (Judicature, 1970). The stories of Black lawyers and judges are rarely told. By sharing Crockett's life of principled courage, "No Equal Justice" breaks this silence.

    The book begins by tracing the Crockett family history from slavery to George's admission into the University of Michigan Law School. He became one of the most senior Black lawyers in President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal administration. Later, he played a central role in fighting discrimination in the United Auto Workers union. In 1949, he became the only Black lawyer, in a team of five attorneys, defending the constitutional rights of the leaders of the U.S. Communist Party in United States v. Dennis, the longest and most dramatic political trial in American history. At the close of the case, Crockett and his defense colleagues were summarily sentenced to prison for zealously representing their clients. He headed the National Lawyers Guild office in Jackson, Mississippi, during 1964's Freedom Summer. In 1966, he was elected to Detroit's Recorder's Court-the court hearing all criminal cases in the city. For the first time, Detroit had a courtroom where Black litigants knew they would be treated fairly. In 1969, the New Bethel Church Incident was Crockett's most famous case. He held court proceeding in the police station itself, freeing members of a Black nationalist group who had been illegally arrested. In 1980, he was elected to the United States Congress where he spent a decade fighting President Reagan's agenda, as well as working to end Apartheid in South Africa and championing the cause to free Nelson Mandela.

    Crockett spent his life fighting racism and defending the constitutional rights of the oppressed. This book introduces him to a new generation of readers, historians, and social justice activists.

    Uncertain Times: Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care (Duke University Press) December 2003 co-edited with Deborah Haas-Wilson, Mark A. Peterson, and William M. Sage

    This collection revisits Nobel Prize-Winning economist Kenneth Arrow's classic 1963 essay "Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care" in light of the many changes in American health care since its publication. Coming from diverse backgrounds — economics, law, political science and the health care industry -- the contributors use Arrow's article to address an array of present-day health policy questions, ranging from insurance and technological innovation, to the role of charity, self-regulation and non-profit status.

    Living on the Margins: Minorities and Borderlines in Cambodia and Southeast Asia (The Center for Khmer Studies) 2009 Edited by Peter Hammer

    Cambodia is undergoing dramatic political, economic and social changes, placing new pressures on minority groups and vulnerable peoples. Some changes are driven by Cambodia's uniquely troubled history. Other forces are global, affecting Cambodia and all other nations in the region. This volume presents a collection of select edited papers presented at an International Conference in Siem Reap, Cambodia, sponsored by the Center for Khmer Studies with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation as part of their Capacity Building in Cambodian Higher Education Program. Important insights can be gained by looking at the lives of those living on the margins. An appreciation of margins, minorities and borderlines teaches a number of object lessons, but it also suggests an enlightening method of analysis. Margins identify fault lines, demarcating borders where powerful tectonic plates rub against each other, whether these plates represent conflicting social institutions or the forces of transcendent, but ill-defined processes like nation-building, economic development or globalization. Engaging the lives of real people caught on these margins can lead to new understandings of the often invisible forces shaping and reshaping Cambodia and the region. The problems of ethnic groups are one concern. Transnational and cross border influences are creating new challenges and opportunities for ethnic minorities. The Cham and other Muslim communities are reconnecting to international Islam. Labor markets cross national boundaries. Vietnamese migrant workers travel to Cambodia, as Cambodian workers travel to Thailand. International loans, agencies and programs targeting development, itself an often disruptive cross border force, are transforming many Cambodian institutions and redefining traditional social margins in the process. This clash of forces is most profoundly felt by the indigenous peoples of the northeast, but the papers also examine other minorities and vulnerable groups who have been systematically denied access to important social resources. Theories of social exclusion teach that the landless, street children, victims of domestic violence and gay and lesbian persons are on the margins of different Cambodian institutions and that borders are not only of a geographic nature.

    Change and Continuity at the World Bank: Reforming Paradoxes of Economic Development (Edward Elgar Publishing) 2013

    This fascinating book examines the World Bank's capacity for change, illustrating the influence of overlapping political, organizational and epistemic constraints. Through comprehensive historical and economic analysis, Peter J. Hammer illuminates the difficulties faced by recent attempts at reform and demonstrates the ways in which the training and socialization of Bank economists work to define the policy space available for meaningful change.

    The author examines the patterns of change and continuity at the World Bank during the presidencies of James Wolfensohn (1995-2005), Paul Wolfowitz (2005-2007) and Robert Zoellick (2007-2012) and discusses the role that various Chief Economists have played in the evolution of the Bank's research activities. His analysis of Bank reforms - both successful and unsuccessful - demonstrates how neoclassical economics sets the Bank's research and development agendas and limits reform possibilities derived from different academic traditions.

    This clear and balanced account is an important case study in the role that epistemic constraints can play in the formation of public policy, with implications for both the World Bank and other international organizations. Students, professors and researchers with an interest in economic development, institutional economics and policy studies will find it an invaluable resource, as will government officials and practitioners working in international development.


    Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith (Wayne State University Press) 2013 Compiled, written, and edited by Peter J. Hammer and Trevor W. Coleman, Foreword by Mitch Albom

    The Hon. Damon J. Keith was appointed to the federal bench in 1967 and has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit since 1977, where he has been an eloquent defender of civil and constitutional rights and a vigorous enforcer of civil rights law. In Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith, authors Peter J. Hammer and Trevor W. Coleman presents the first ever biography of native Detroiter Judge Keith, surveying his education, important influences, major cases, and professional and personal commitments. Along the way, the authors consult a host of Keith's notable friends and colleagues, including former White House deputy counsel John Dean, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and industrialist Edsel Ford II for this candid and comprehensive volume.
    Hammer and Coleman trace Keith's early life, from his public school days in Detroit to his time serving in the segregated U.S. Army and his law school years at Howard University at the dawn of the Civil Rights era. They reveal how Keith's passion for racial and social justice informed his career, as he became co-chairman of Michigan's first Civil Rights Commission and negotiated the politics of his appointment to the federal judiciary. The authors go on to detail Keith's most famous cases, including the Pontiac Busing and Hamtramck Housing cases, the 1977 Detroit Police affirmative action case, the so-called Keith Case (United States v. U.S. District Court), and the Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft case in 2002. They also trace Keith's personal commitment to mentoring young black lawyers, provides a candid look behind the scenes at the dynamics and politics of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and even discuss some of Keith's difficult relationships, for instance with the Detroit NAACP and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
    Judge Keith's 45 years on the bench offer a unique viewpoint on a tumultuous era of American and legal history. Readers interested in Civil Rights-era law, politics, and personalities will appreciate the portrait of Keith's fortitude and conviction in Crusader for Justice.

  • Accomplishments
    • Peter Hammerpublished “No Equal Justice": The Legacy of Civil Rights Icon George W. Crockett Jr., Wayne State University Press, 2022. The book was co-written with Edward J. Littlejohn.
    • Peter Hammer presented on the dynamics of spatial-structural racism as part of the General Motors legal department's Distinguished Speaker Series
    • Peter J. Hammerwas named the Law School’s inaugural A. Alfred Taubman Endowed Chair. The $1.5 million endowed chair is part of a $3 million gift from the late A. Alfred Taubman in 2006 that led to the construction of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights building at Wayne Law. Read more here
    • Peter Hammerspoke at Marygrove College as part of a panel discussion on “When Does Free Speech Become Hate Speech?” The event was sponsored by the Michigan Coalition of Human Rights.
  • Courses taught by Peter J. Hammer

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