Prof. Ilya Somin

Professor of Law, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University
Ilya Somin

Ilya Somin is Professor of Law at Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, and the study of popular political participation and its implications for constitutional democracy.  He is the author of Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter (Stanford University Press,  revised and expanded second edition, 2016), and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain (University of Chicago Press, 2015), coauthor of A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and co-editor of Eminent Domain in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). Democracy and Political Ignorance has been translated into Italian and Japanese.

Somin’s work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals, including the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Critical Review, and others. Somin has also published articles in a variety of popular press outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Room for Debate website, CNN, USA Today, Newark Star Ledger, Orlando Sentinel, South China Morning Post, Legal Times, National Law Journal and Reason. He has been quoted or interviewed by the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CBS, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Al Jazeera and the Voice of America, among other media. He has testified on the use of drones for targeted killing in the War on Terror before the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. In 2009, he testified on property rights issues at the United States Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Somin writes regularly for the popular Volokh Conspiracy law and politics blog, affiliated with the Washington Post. From 2006 to 2013, he served as Co-Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review, one of the country’s top-rated law and economics journals.

In 2008, Somin served as a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Hamburg, Germany, the University of Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Zhengzhou University in China. Before joining the faculty at George Mason, Somin was the John M. Olin Fellow in Law at Northwestern University Law School in 2002-2003.  In 2001-2002, he clerked for the Hon. Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Professor Somin earned his B.A., Summa Cum Laude, at Amherst College, M.A. in Political Science from Harvard University, and J.D. from Yale Law School.

  • Yale Law School, J.D., February 2001
  • Harvard University, M.A., Political Science, 1997
  • Amherst College,  B.A., Summa Cum Laude, in Political Science and History, 1995

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Publications and Multimedia
Justice Scalia's Property Rights Jurisprudence - Event Audio/Video
2016 National Lawyers Convention
November 24, 2016
Pipeline Takings: When Can Your Property Be Taken? - Podcast
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
August 29, 2016
Democracy and Political Ignorance
Short video featuring Ilya Somin
August 18, 2016
Devolution and Secession in the Modern World - Podcast
International & National Security Law Practice Group Podcast
June 22, 2016
Immigration Restrictions & the Constitution [FedSoc 5]
Transcript from short video featuring John Eastman and Ilya Somin
April 01, 2016
Immigration Restrictions & the Constitution [FedSoc 5]
Short video featuring John Eastman and Ilya Somin
April 01, 2016
Immigration Restrictions and the Constitution - Event Audio/Video
2016 National Student Symposium
March 04, 2016
How could the Supreme Court affect marriage?
Short video debating the possible consequences of Obergefell v. Hodges.
June 25, 2015
Must the states recognize same sex marriages?
Short video explaining Obergefell v. Hodges
June 25, 2015
The Grasping Hand: "Kelo v. City of New London" and the Limits of Eminent Domain - Podcast
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
June 05, 2015
The Gay Marriage Cases: A Preview of the Supreme Court Oral Argument - Podcast
Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
April 27, 2015
Does the Government's seizure of raisins violate the Takings Clause?
Short video with Ilya Somin discussing Horne v. USDA
April 21, 2015
Democracy & Political Ignorance - Event Video
Co-sponsored by the Georgetown Student Chapter, the Faculty Division, and the Georgetown Center for the Constitution
January 21, 2014
Recent Developments in Public Use Law - Podcast
Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
July 31, 2013
Judicial Activism - Podcast
Federalism and Separation of Powers Practice Group Podcast
July 19, 2012
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services v. Florida - Individual Mandate - Post-Argument SCOTUScast
SCOTUScast 03-29-12 featuring Ilya Somin and Orin Kerr
March 29, 2012
Ramifications of Repealing the 17th Amendment
Engage, Volume 12, Issue 2, September 2011
July 29, 2011
Eminent Domain After Kelo
Engage Volume 11, Issue 3, December 2010
December 23, 2010
Federalism and the Economic Crisis - Event Audio/Video
2009 National Lawyers Convention
November 12, 2009
Competitive and Cooperative Federalism - Event Audio/Video
The Future of Federalism
September 12, 2008
Post Kelo Reform - Event Audio/Video
10th Annual Faculty Conference
January 04, 2008
Executive Discretion & the Rule of Law - Event Audio/Video
10th Annual Faculty Conference
January 03, 2008
Online Debate
July 26, 2007
Law and Culture- Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline - Event Video
A Conference Discussing the Contributions of Judge Robert H. Bork
June 26, 2007