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, P.C. in Memphis.
Opportunity led Professor 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. degree from Yale in 1999. From 1999-2003, he taught at the Southern Illinois University School of Law before joining the Cumberland faculty. During the summers, he regularly teaches constitutional law at the University of Tennessee College of Law and in Cumberland’s Study Abroad Program at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University.
Professor 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, Sterling Professor Emeritus at Yale on Bittker on the Regulation of Interstate Commerce and Foreign Commerce (Aspen Law and Business 1999), and is sole author on the second edition. He also edited a textbook, Gun Control and Gun Rights: A Reader and Guide (NYU Press 2002), which addresses various aspects of firearms regulation, and is the only book of its kind designed for undergraduate and classroom use.
Most recently, he published the second edition of The Glannon Guide to Constitutional Law: Governmental Structure and Powers and The Glannon Guide to Constitutional Law: Individual Rights and Liberties, both published by Aspen/WoltersKluwer. 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.
Professor 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.