Professor of Public Interest Law, George Washington University Law School
@profbanzhaf  See Most Recent Tweets Below

FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor; Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH); Creator, Banzhaf Index of Voting Power
Banzhaf's Battle Against COVID-19

George Washington Univ. Law School, 
2000 H Street, N.W., Stockton Hall 402
Washington, DC 20052
(202) 994-7229 Fax: (202) 697-5000

B.S.E.E., M.I.T., 
J.D., Columbia University,
Sc.D., Thomas Jefferson University


Major Professional Accomplishments

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)

Banzhaf Index of Voting Power

John Banzhaf - The Movie

Using Law to Fight Obesity

Father of Potty Parity

Center For Nonsmokers' Rights

Volleyball: ClubGWU IM Cruises,

In Wikipedia (contains errors)

In Recent News (Google)

In Recent News (Topix)

Some Press Releases (PR-Inside)

In Archived News (Google)

In Books (Google)

Free E-Books With His Tag

In Scholarly Papers (Google)

In Law Reviews (Lexis)

In Publications (Lexis) in 2006

In Movies (IMDb)

Discussed on SSRN

In American Legal Academics

In Legal Documents (Google)

In Govt. Documents (Google)

Among  "Noted Faculty" at GWU Law

Role in Supreme Court SCRAP Case


Smokers' Rights, Civil Lights - Why is Smoking Like Masturbation,
The Daily Show, [06/06/02]


Why Forcing Students Into Same Sex Dorms is Illegal Sex Discrimination, America Live (Fox News) [06/23/11] and America's News HQ (Fox News) [07/17/11]

Cavuto "Loses It" Debating Banzhaf Over McDonald's Fox News [05/19/11]

Using Legal Action as Weapon Against Obesity, C-SPAN [09/25/04]

Defending Right of Companies Not to Hire Smokers, Fox & Friends (on Fox News) [01/22/10]

Legislating Lifestyles or Injecting Personal Responsibility into Health Care?, The Dr. Nancy [Snyderman] Show on MSNBC [09/16/09]

Charging Obese Workers More for Health Insurance,  TODAY SHOW [10/11/09]

Retire Ronald McDonald, or Kill Him Like We Killed Joe Camel, Neil Cavoto Show, Fox News

The "Food Police," "Stossel" on Fox Business News  Segment 2  Segment 3 [01/28/10]

First Lady's Obesity Plan is Weak, MSNBC-TV and NEWSY [02/11/10]

New Nicotine Vaccine for Smokers, WUSA-TV, Channel 9 in DC [11/24/09]

On-Air Water-Throwing Incident Seen Round the World Morton Downey Show

Why There's No Such Thing As a Right to Smoke, Morton Downey 1988

The Cheeseburger Bill, MSNBC [9/4/08]

Potential Potty Problems at Inauguration, "Morning Joe" on MSNBC-TV[1/19/08]

Fat Law Suits, Scarborough Country on MSNBC-TV [9/7/08]

Government Regulation of Smoking (on Airplanes), American Debate [1984]

Banzhaf in a New Movie - "Waiting For My Real Life" link

Tobacco Debate, Charlie Rose Show   [7/13/94]

Debate on Cigarette Advertising Directed to Children, 20/20, 1983 ABC-TV Evening News

Battle of the Widening Bulge, Eye on American, CBS-TV Evening News, [08/08/02]

Lawyer Preps for Fast Food Fight,  CBS-TV Evening News [11/03/03]

Smoking David Susskind Show [1986]

Law Suit Against McDonald's, Canadian TV [03/23/02] link

Protecting Children From Secondhand Tobacco Smoke [11/29/06] TODAY Show, NBC-TV

Why Do We Crave Unhealthy Foods?: Addiction [11/30/06] CBS-TV Evening News 

Right of Companies to Have a Smokefree Work Force FOX NEWS: Mike and Juliet

Who's to blame for overweight epidemic? [5/21/07] Channel 14

Banzhaf Debates RJR Chairman (begins ~19 min)
[2/2/84]  NIGHTLINE with Ted Koppel


Banzhaf on the Mathematics of Voting and Elections,  [05/21/10]  BBC's More or Less [time = 4;15-8:30]

Banzhaf on the Mathematics of Potty Parity, [06/25/10], BBC's More or Less [time = 20.50-26.00]

Check back soon for more links

John F. Banzhaf III [pronounced Banz-Half] is a nationally-known professor and practitioner of public interest law, and a former scientist, engineer, mathematician, and inventor.  [See links below and in left column]

  Prof. John Banzhaf has been called the "Ralph Nader of the Tobacco Industry," "One of America's Premier Legal Activists," "An Unsung American Hero." "The Man Behind the Ban on Cigarette Commercials," "the Ralph Nader of Junk Food," "The Man Who Is Taking Fat to Court" [for using legal action to fight OBESITY], "Mr. Anti-Smoking," "One of the Most Vocal and Effective Anti-Tobacco Attorneys," a "Radical Feminist," a "Man Who Lives by his Writs," the "Father of Potty Parity," "the Area's Best-Known 'Radical' Law Professor," " Legal Academia's Instigator in Chief," One of the World's Top "Game Theorists," and an "Entrepreneur of Litigation, [and] a Trial Lawyer's Trial Lawyer."

  He has also been hailed as "one of the "100 Most Powerful People in Washington," "The Man Big Tobacco and Now Fast Food Love to Hate," the lawyer "Who's Leading the Battle Against Big Fat,"  "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars," "the Renowned and Often Flamboyant Public-Interest Law Professor at George Washington University," "the Fastest Legal Gun in the East," the "Dean of Public Interest Lawyers," "a Major Crusader Against Big Tobacco and Now Among Those Targeting the Food Industry," and "the law professor who masterminded litigation against the tobacco industry." 

  He's also been called by his enemies a "Legal Terrorist"," the "Osama bin Laden of Torts," a "Legal Bomb-Thrower," the Man From F.U.C.K., and a "Legal Flamethrower," and he has frequently been attacked on web sites (which are often inaccurate) [see, e.g.,] by those who opposed his activities; clear indications, he says, that his many targets fear him and his legal actions.

  As a young lawyer, John Banzhaf brought a legal action which required broadcast stations to provide hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free broadcast time for anti-smoking messages — an action which resulted in the first ever decline in cigarette consumption, something even the 1964 Surgeon General's Report was not able to achieve

  Subsequently, after founding Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) to serve as the legal-action arm of the antismoking community [ About ASH ], he helped drive cigarette commercials off the air, and started the nonsmokers' rights movement by first getting no-smoking sections and then smoking bans on airplanes and buses, and in many other public places.

  Banzhaf and ASH have played a major role in the war on smoking and for nonsmokers' rights, including promoting and helping to mastermind law suits against the tobacco industry, in defending the legal rights of nonsmokers in hundreds of legislative, administrative, and judicial proceedings, in helping to pass, implement, and enforce the first world antismoking and nonsmokers' rights treaty [], and persuading Congress to authorize charging smokers more for their health insurance as part of its comprehensive reform of health care.

  More recently he helped to ban cigarette advertising in several European countries, and to ban smoking outdoors, in homes and cars where foster children are present, to protect children involved in custody disputes, etc. [New Frontiers For Nonsmokers].  His contributions to the war on smoking have been very widely recognized [ What Others Have Said About ASH]

  At the George Washington University Law School, Prof. John Banzhaf teaches Torts, Administrative Law, Disabled People and the Law, and Law and the Deaf.  He also teaches a unique world-famous course — "Legal Activism" [Law 637], which has been dubbed "suing for credit"[GW's Legal Powerhouse] and "Sue the Bastards" — where his law students, which the press dubbed "Banzhaf's Bandits" [Time Magazine], learn to become public interest lawyers by bringing their own legal actions [Spotlight: Professor brings the classroom to the courtroom]. 

   He and his students are widely known for bringing hundreds of innovative public interest legal actions including one of the leading Supreme Court environmental law suits,  persuading the F.T.C. to require "corrective advertising," preventing dry cleaners from charging women more to launder their shirts ," suing former Vice President Spiro T. Agnew  to recover the bribes he received, safety standards for school buses, clearer warnings on birth control pills, smoke detectors in airplane lavatories, auto bumper standards, new police procedures for dealing with spousal abuse, the end to a scheme to defraud veterans, greater roles for blacks on television, clearer labeling of foods, and many other victories.

  Prof. Banzhaf has also achieved many additional public interest legal victories, including: forcing the Cosmos Club to admit women, using the threat of a civil law suit to pressure Durham County DA Mike Nifong to step down and drop rape charges against three Duke lacrosse players, helping to get the first woman admitted to formerly all-male state-supported military academies, etc.  He has been dubbed "The Father of Potty Parity" for spearheading legislative and other movements to equalize the waiting time to use restrooms, and most recently won a major victory in the U.S. House of Representatives.

   Recently, Prof. Banzhaf started a movement to use legal action as a weapon against obesity modeled on his earlier successes in using legal action as a weapon against smoking [CBS1, CBS2Canadian TV].  So far, ten (including two threatened) fat law suits have been successful [link], and have forced McDonald's, Kraft, KFC, Kelloggs, and other major companies to make significant changes likely to help reduce obesity.

  John Banzhaf has discussed and/or debated smoking and obesity as well a wide variety of legal issues, including self defense, governmental corruption, sex discrimination, auto and food safety, jury nullification, Potty Parity, drug testing, various constitutional issues, etc.   on all of the major television network news programs, as well as on Face the Nation, McNeil Lehrer, Nightline, Oprah Winfrey, Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The O'Reilly Factor, Nightwatch, Crossfire, Fox & Friends, Technopolitics, CNN News, Larry King, Hannity & Colmes, Phil Donohue, the Abrams Report, American Morning With Paula Zahn, Morning Joe, DaySide with Linda Vester, Lou Dobbs Tonight, Tucker, and many other national programs both here and in other countries, in Op-Ed pieces, and in numerous programs and publications both here and around the world.  More recently he appeared on The Daily Show, and the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.

  After graduating from Stuyvesant High School in New York City, link2, Professor Banzhaf received his undergraduate degree in Electrical Engineering from M.I.T.  For a time before entering law school he worked as a scientist and engineer, writing several published technical papers, and obtaining two U.S. patents; one on a Directional Antenna for Space Satellites, and another (for which he wrote the patent application) on an Electronic Multiplying System.  At the Columbia University Law School, he was an Editor of the Law Review, obtained the first copyright ever registered on a computer program [link], helped persuade Congress to amend the copyright statute to include data processing, and developed a new mathematical technique now termed the "Banzhaf Power Index" used by Banzhaf and others for determining voting power in complex voting systems including weighted votingmulti-member electoral districts, the Electoral College, the EU Constitution1EU Constitution2, and in other situations (e.g., convex geometries, on SSRN)

  Professor Banzhaf serves as the Faculty Advisor for the GWU Volleyball Club/Teams [
Club,  GWU IM, ] and is a member of  the World Technology Network [].  Wikipedia has recognized him as one of the world's top 80 Game Theorists.  On campus, he played a role in forcing George Washington University to discontinue its Pinkerton-operated anonymous hotline [link], to revise its sexual harassment policy, and to limit smoking on campus. Link1, Link2 .

  Among the best known attorney license plates in the U.S. are those which belong to public interest law professor John Banzhaf. 
They have gone through a wide variety of different iterations  - e.g., "Sue Bast," "Su Bastrds," etc. - which all stand for “Sue the Bastards.”
  Not only have they appeared in many media reports, but they were brought up on CNN, in a Congressional Hearing, and in the official Congressional Committee Report, all in an effort to embarrass him.  P.S.: it didn’t work, and the “cheeseburger bill” against which he testified never passed.  SEE: Law Professor John Banzhaf's "SUE THE BASTARDS" License Plates Link

Legal Threat Bubbling Beneath School Soda Contract, SEATTLE POST-INTELLIGENCER REPORTER [7/17/03]: The man who brought the threat of an anti-obesity lawsuit to the Seattle School Board works in a university office about 3,000 miles away, with a sign hanging outside the door that reads "Torts R Us."  His 1989 white Ford van, once used to taxi his now-grown son around, has a vanity license plate reading "SUEBAST" -- short for "Sue the Bastards," a favorite credo. Link

Future Lawyers of America, FACEBOOK: Rebel With Many Causes: The George Washington University Law School catalog lists John F. Banzhaf III’s most celebrated and notorious course as Legal Activism. The professor refers to this central part of his syllabus by a less scholarly title: Sue the Bastards.
  His license plate once rendered the same sentiment semaphorically as SUE BAS.

Class Action;  Law Professor John Banzhaf III Has a Talent for Stirring up Trouble, AMERICAN LAWYER MAGAZINE, [07/05]: John Banzhaf III may rank as legal academia's instigator in chief. From behind his large desk, littered with stacks of paper and empty Diet Coke cans, the professor at George Washington University Law School in D.C. files (or threatens) suits about as often as most people change clothes. Link

[Robert] NOVAK: Professor Banzhaf, I would like to put something up on the screen.
NOVAK: It's a license plate. Can we put it up there? There it is. that's your license plate. And it says SUE BAS. Is that your wife's name, Sue Bas?
BANZHAF: No, it's actually B-A-S-T, and stands for Sue the Bastards, and if Virginia ever finds out what it stands for, they'll probably take it away from me.
NOVAK: Isn't this a case of you are just one of the most litigious men in America. You will sue anybody at the drop of the hat.
BANZHAF: Anytime I see wrongdoing, I will sue. I'm an equal opportunity litigator. As you know, I'm one of the few people, who when you first had the CROSSFIRE program, and you had the liberal and conservative, I got fired at by the conservative, and I got fired at by the liberal. I go after anybody. Link


HUMOROUS - Smokers' Rights, Civil Lights - Why is Smoking Like Masturbation, The Daily Show  [06/06/02]

- Cavuto "Loses It" Debating Banzhaf Over McDonald's Fox News [05/19/11]

HUMOROUS - On-Air Water-Throwing Incident Seen Round the World Morton Downey Show

HUMOROUS - Why There's No Such Thing As a Right to Smoke, Morton Downey 1988

Sex robots might ‘whet the appetite’ for illicit sex – law prof [2017]

John Stossel - Regulation Strangulation link