H. Jefferson Powell earned a bachelor’s degree from St. David’s University College (now Trinity St. David) of the University of Wales; a master’s degree and PhD from Duke University; and a Master’s of Divinity and JD from Yale University. He was a law clerk to Judge Sam J. Ervin III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Powell's academic career began at the University of Iowa in 1984; in 1989, he joined the law faculty at Duke University. His career also includes visiting positions at Columbia, Yale and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His scholarship has addressed the history and ethical implications of American constitutionalism, the powers of the executive branch, and the role of the Constitution in legislative and judicial decision-making, among other subjects.