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Blake Watson

Professor of Law; Samuel A. McCray Chair

Full-Time Faculty

School of Law


Email: Blake Watson
Phone: 937-229-2621
423 Keller Hall
Curriculum Vitae: Read CV


Before coming to the School of Law in 1992, Blake Watson clerked for Judge Bailey Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and then worked in Washington, D.C., for the Department of Justice. As a lawyer in the Environment and Natural Resources Division, he represented the United States before federal courts of appeal and state supreme courts in cases relating to environmental, natural resources, wildlife, and Indian law. Professor Watson also assisted on a few cases that went to the Supreme Court. He received a Special Achievement Award in 1988 for outstanding work.

Professor Watson was attracted to teaching at Dayton Law because of the campus environment and its location. “I believe the Midwest is a great place to live and raise a family,” he says. He felt his job experience as an appellate attorney made him ready to step into the classroom. “I had to deal with a wide range of issues, from clean water to endangered species, so I was better prepared to teach a variety of topics.” He enjoys being in the classroom and has been elected Professor of the Year by the student body several times. In May of 2014, he received the University of Dayton Faculty Award in Teaching.  Read more here.

Always interested in history, Professor Watson particularly enjoys Indian law. He has authored several articles on issues concerning Indians, and has written a book on the historical context behind the 1823 Johnson v. McIntosh Supreme Court decision regarding native land rights. His current scholarship focus is on oil and gas law and hydraulic fracturing.

In October 2019, Professor Watson was installed to the Samuel A. McCray Chair In Law.

Courses Taught

Law 6104 Real Property I
Law 6205 Administrative Law
Law 6426 Natural Resources Law
Law 6804 Real Property II
Law 6833 Environmental Law


J.D., with distinction, Duke University, 1981
B.A., summa cum laude, Vanderbilt University, 1978

Areas of Law

Environmental Law
Administrative Law
Natural Resources Law
Federal Indian Law

Selected Presentations

Hydraulic Fracturing Litigation Summary: (1) Selected articles on fracking contamination and trespass litigation; (2) summary of groundwater contamination disputes (and related cases) involving hydraulic fracturing; and (3) summary of articles and cases concerning "Lone Pine" case management orders (PDF)

Selected Publications

Research and Scholarship Available at SSRN »

Buying America From the Indians: Johnson v. McIntosh and the History of Native Land Rights (University of Oklahoma Press, July 2012). Recipient of a Superior Achievement Award, Scholarly Publication, given by the Illinois State Historical Society (April 27, 2013).

Nullify, Postpone, Suspend, Stay, and Replace: The Trump Administration and the Methane Waste Prevention Rule, 44 University of Dayton Law Review 363 (2019)

Do I Have to be Reasonable?: The Right To Arbitrarily Restrict Transfer Of Occupancy And Mineral Leases, 47 Capital University Law Review 27 (2019)

Presidents and Property Law, Probate and Property Magazine (March/April 2018)

Hydraulic Fracturing and Tort Litigation: A Survey of Landowner Lawsuits, Probate and Property Magazine (Sep./Oct. 2017)

Fracking and Cracking: Strict Liability for Earthquake Damage Due to Wastewater Injection and Hydraulic Fracturing, 11 Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law 1 (2016)

Is Fracking An Inflammatory Word?, 30 Natural Resources & Environment Magazine (Summer 2015)

Is an Oil and Gas Lease a Conveyance of Real Property or a Grant of a Use Right?,  National Association of Real Estate Lawyers Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1, p.2 (February 2015)

Buying West Florida from the Indians: The Forbes Purchase and Mitchel v. United States (1835), 9 Florida International University Law Review 361 (2014)

Ohio Oil and Gas Litigation in the New Fracking Era (PDF), 74 Ohio State Law Journal Furthermore 47 (2013)

The Doctrine of Discovery and the Elusive Definition of Indian Title (PDF), 15 Lewis & Clark Law Review 995 (2012)

The Impact of the American Doctrine of Discovery on Native Land Rights in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand (PDF), 34 Seattle University Law Review 507 (2011)

John Marshall and Indian Land Rights: A Historical Rejoinder to the Claim of "Universal Recognition" of the Doctrine of Discovery (PDF), 36 Seton Hall Law Review 481-549 (2006)

Indian Gambling in Ohio: What Are the Odds? (PDF), 32 Capital University Law Review 237-315 (2003)

Understanding Challenges to Land Use Regulations and Impact Fees – A Primer on the Major Cases; Types of Challenges; and Supreme Court Tests, Appendix in Takings Litigation Handbook by Kendall, Dowling, and Schwartz (American Legal Publishing 2000)

The Thrust and Parry of Federal Indian Law (PDF), 23 University of Dayton Law Review 437-514 (1998)

The Curious Case of Disappearing Federal Jurisdiction Over Federal Enforcement of Federal Law: A Vehicle For Reassessment of the Tribal Exhaustion/Abstention Doctrine, 80 Marquette Law Review 103-194 (1997)

Liberal Construction of CERCLA Under the Remedial Purpose Canon: Have the Lower Courts Taken A Good Thing Too Far? (PDF), 20 Harvard Environmental Law Review 199-328 (1996)

State Acquisition of Interests in Indian Land: An Overview (PDF), 10 American Indian Law Review 219-256 (1982)