Jim Oleske joined Lewis & Clark Law School in 2011 after serving as Chief of Staff of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the first two years of the Obama Administration. Professor Oleske's research focuses on the intersection of religious liberty and other constitutional values, and he was a Fulbright Scholar based at Cardiff University’s Centre for Law and Religion in 2019. His 2015 article, The Evolution of Accommodation: Comparing the Unequal Treatment of Religious Objections to Interracial and Same-Sex Marriages, was selected by UCLA’s Williams Institute for a Dukeminier Award, which recognizes the best legal scholarship on sexual orientation and gender identity. He was also the recipient of the inaugural Huffman Scholarship Award at Lewis & Clark for his 2019 article, Free Exercise (Dis)Honesty, as well as the Leo Levenson Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014.
In his time at the White House, Professor Oleske worked on several pieces of major legislation, including the 2009 Recovery Act and the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Earlier in his career, he served as an appellate attorney at the National Labor Relations Board, where he argued 11 cases in the federal courts of appeals. He also served as chief of staff of the Oregon Senate Majority Office; a counsel in the Office of U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle; a visiting lecturer at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; and an associate at Mayer, Brown & Platt. Professor Oleske began his career as a law clerk to then-Third Circuit Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr.