Prof. Michael Dorf

Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Professor Dorf has co-taught the Colloquium on Constitutionalism in Comparative Perspective and incorporates comparative, foreign, and international topics in each of his courses and seminars that nominally address issues in U.S. domestic law. For example, the basic course in Civil Procedure uses Continental and other judge-centric models of adjudication as a counterpoint and foil to the common-law reliance on attorney framing of issues; within the family of common law systems, fee-shifting and loser-pays systems play the same function; and complications arising from the internationalization of commerce appear in discussions of trans-national litigation. Likewise, the basic course in Constitutional Law compares and contrasts federalism in the United States with developments in the European Union as a whole as well as other federal systems such as Germany and Canada; attends to the growing (though still small) influence of international human rights law and foreign law on Supreme Court decisionmaking in individual rights cases such as Lawrence v. Texas; and problematizes assertions in leading cases about the inevitability of separation of powers by examining parliamentary alternatives. The Seminar on Federalism includes a distinct unit on comparative federalism. Students in all of Professor Dorf's seminars are encouraged to write comparative and international papers.

Professor Dorf's academic writing frequently brings insights from comparative, foreign and international law to bear on questions of U.S. constitutional law. His work with colleagues on "Democratic Experimentalism" focuses especially on convergent developments in the United States, Europe and elsewhere in regulation through decentralized though coordinated networks of locally accountable bodies, developments that sometimes go under the name "reflexive law" abroad. In his writing for popular audiences, including his bi-weekly column on Writ (the internet legal magazine of FindLaw, published by West), Professor Dorf frequently discusses issues of comparative, foreign, and international law, including such topics as constitutional law in China, legal developments in Rwanda, the legality under international law of the war in Iraq, and a host of other issues arising out of that conflict and the "war on terror."

Harvard Law School, J.D., magna cum laude, 1990.
Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand, 1986-87. Rotary Foundation Graduate Scholarship.
Harvard College, A.B., magna cum laude in physics, 1986.

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Publications and Multimedia
Executive Privilege
Online Debate
July 27, 2007