Mila Versteeg

  • Professor of Law
  • Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law
  • Director, Center for International & Comparative Law
  • Director, Human Rights Program
  • Senior Fellow, Miller Center

Mila Versteeg joined the Law School in 2011. Her research and teaching interests include comparative constitutional law, public international law and empirical legal studies. She has published over 50 articles and book chapters, in both legal and social science journals. Her publications have, amongst others, appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Columbia Law Review,  the New York University Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Legal Studies, the Journal of Law and Economics, the American Journal of International Law, and the Journal of Law, Economics and Organizations. A number of her works have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese and Turkish. Her new book How Constitutional Rights Matter won the Best Book Prize for 2019 and 2020 from the International Society of Public Law and the Best Book Award from the Human Rights Section of the American Political Science Association.  

In 2017, Versteeg was named an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, which provided her with a $200,000 award to expand her research into the world's constitutions to better understand how constitutional rights are enforced in different countries. Versteeg has been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School, Columbia Law School, the Hebrew University, the University of Hamburg, Tel Aviv University and IDC Herzliya.

 

Education

  • LL.M.
    Harvard Law School
    2007
  • D.Phil.
    University of Oxford
    2011
  • Meester in Rechten
    Tilburg University
    2006

Forthcoming

Comparative Constitutional Law: A Global and Interdisciplinary Approach (with Tom Ginsburg & David Landau), Oxford University Press (2021).
Small-c Constitutional Rights (with Adam Chilton), International Journal of Constitutional Law (2021).

Works in Progress

Books

Comparative Constitutional Law (with Vicki C. Jackson), Routledge (2021).
How Constitutional Rights Matter (with Adam Chilton), Oxford University Press (2020).
Comparative International Law (with Anthea Roberts, Paul B. Stephan & Pierre-Hugues Verdier), Oxford University Press (2018).
Constituciones aparentes (with David S. Law & Maria Jose Viana), Universidad Externado de Colombia (2018).
Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions (with Denis J. Galligan), Cambridge University Press (2013).

Articles & Book Chapters

The Global Evolution of Foreign Relations Law (with Kevin Cope & Pierre-Hugues Verdier), (2021).
Constitution-Making, Methodology, and Interpretation (with Vicki C. Jackson), 2 in Jackson,Vicki C. & Versteeg, Mila, eds., Comparative Constitutional Law, Routledge 1-7 (2021).
Constitutional Rights (with Vicki C. Jackson), 4 in Jackson, Vicki C. & Versteeg, Mila, eds., Comparative Constitutional Law, Routledge 1-7 (2021).
Constitutions and Constitutionalism (with Vicki C. Jackson), 1 in Jackson, Vicki C. & Versteeg, Mila, eds., Comparative Constitutional Law, Routledge 1-6 (2021).
Government Structures and Frameworks (with Vicki C. Jackson), 3 in Jackson, Vicki C. & Versteeg, Mila, eds., Comparative Constitutional Law, Routledge 1-8 (2021).
Can Rights Combat Economic Inequality?, (reviewing Samuel Moyn, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World) 133 Harvard Law Review 2017-2060 (2020).
Is the Influence of the U.S. Constitution Declining? (with David S. Law), in Roger M. Smith & Richard R. Beeman, eds., Modern Constitutions, University of Pennsylvania Press 17-63 (2020).
The Law and Politics of Presidential Term Limit Evasion (with Mauricio Guim et al.), 120 Columbia Law Review 173-248 (2020).
Empirical Studies of Human Rights Law (with Kevin Cope & Cosette D. Creamer), 15 Annual Review of Law & Social Science 155-182 (2019).
From Catalonia to California: Secession in Constitutional Law (with Tom Ginsburg), 70 Alabama Law Review 923-985 (2019).
Separation of Powers, Treaty-Making, and Treaty Withdrawal: A Global Survey (with Pierre-Hugues Verdier), in Curtis A. Bradley, ed., Oxford Handbook of Comparative Foreign Relations Law, Oxford University Press 135-155 (2019).
The Strength of Weak Review: National Courts, Interpretive Canons, and Human Rights Treaties (with Yonatan Lupu & Pierre-Hugues Verdier), 63 International Studies Quarterly 507-520 (2019).
Conceptualizing Comparative International Law (with Anthea Roberts, Paul B. Stephan & Pierre-Hugues Verdier), in Anthea Roberts et al., eds., Comparative International Law, Oxford University Press 3-31 (2018).
Courts’ Limited Ability to Protect Constitutional Rights (with Adam S. Chilton), 85 University of Chicago Law Review 293-335 (2018).
International Law in National Legal Systems: An Empirical Investigation (with Pierre-Hugues Verdier), in Anthea Roberts et al., eds., Comparative International Law, Oxford University Press 209-230 (2018).
Limiting Judicial Discretion (with Emily Zackin), in Erin F. Delaney & Rosalind Dixon, eds., Comparative Judicial Review, Edward Elgar 290-316 (2018).
Modelo constitucional colombiano en perspectiva comparada latinoamericana y global (with Nelson Camilo Sánchez León), in Rodríguez Villabona, Andrés Abel, ed., Veinticinco años de la Constitución (1991-2016). Debates constitucionales y perspectivas constituyentes, Universidad Nacional de Colombia 105-127 (2018).
The Coming Demise of Liberal Constitutionalism? (with Tom Ginsburg & Aziz Z. Huq), 85 University of Chicago Law Review 239-255 (2018).
The External Dimensions of Constitutions (with Eyal Benvenisti), 57 Virginia Journal of International Law 515-537 (2018).
The Future of Human Rights Scholarship (with James Loeffler), 81 Law & Contemporary Problems i-xi (2018).
Unpopular Constitutionalism, in Catherine A. MacKinnon, ed., Gender in Constitutional Law, Edward Elgar (2018).
Measuring the Rule of Law: A Comparison of Indicators (with Tom Ginsberg), 42 Law and Social Inquiry 100-137 (2017).
Constitutional Correlates of the Rule of Law (with Tom Ginsburg), in Maurice Adams, Anne Claartje Margreet Meuwese, & E. M. H. Hirsch Ballin, eds., Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law: Bridging Idealism and Realism, Cambridge University Press 506-525 (2017).
Measuring the Rule of Law: A Comparison of Indicators (with Tom Ginsburg), 42 Law & Social Inquiry 100-137 (2017).
Modes of Domestic Incorporation of International Law (with Pierre-Hugues Verdier), in Wayne Sandholtz & Christopher A. Whytock, eds., Research Handbook on the Politics of International Law, Edward Elgar 149-175 (2017).
Rights without Resources: The Impact of Constitutional Social Rights on Social Spending (with Adam S. Chilton), 60 Journal of Law & Economics 713-748 (2017).
The Political Economy of the Constitutional Right to Asylum (with Lucas Kowalczyk), 102 Cornell Law Review 1219-1317 (2017).
Constitutions Unentrenched: Toward an Alternative Theory of Constitutional Design (with Emily Zackin), 110 American Political Science Review 657-674 (2016).
Do Constitutional Rights Make a Difference? (with Adam S. Chilton), 60 American Journal of Political Science 575-589 (2016).
History, Geography, and Rights: A Response to Chilton and Posner, 56 Virginia Journal of International Law 501-526 (2016).
International Law, Constitutional Law, and Public Support for Torture (with Adam S. Chilton), Research & Politics 1-9 (2016).
Review of The Interpretation of International Law by Domestic Courts (with Kevin Cope), (reviewing Helmut Philipp Aust & Georg Nolte, The Interpretation of International Law by Domestic Courts: Uniformity, Diversity Convergence) 111 American Journal of International Law 538-544 (2016).
The Contours of Constitutional Approval (with Nicholas O. Stephanopoulos), 94 Washington University Law Review 113-190 (2016).
A Politica das Clausulas Expropriatorias, 71 Seqüência: Estudos Jurídicos e Políticos 43-94 (2015).
Comparative International Law: Framing the Field (with Anthea Roberts, Paul B. Stephan & Pierre-Hugues Verdier), 109 American Journal of International Law 467-474 (2015).
Constitutions (with Kevin Cope), 3 in James D. Wright, ed., International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier 710-715 (2 ed. 2015).
International Law in National Legal Systems: An Empirical Investigation (with Pierre-Hugues Verdier), 109 American Journal of International Law 514-533 (2015).
Laws versus Norms: The Impact of Human Rights Treaties on National Bills of Rights, 171 Journal of International & Theoretical Economics 87-111 (2015).
The Failure of Constitutional Torture Prohibitions (with Adam S. Chilton), 44 Journal of Legal Studies 417-452 (2015).
The Politics of Takings Clauses, 109 Northwestern University Law Review 695-737 (2015).
“Perfection in Imperfection”: Joseph de Maistre and the Limitations of Constitutional Design, in Denis J. Galligan, ed., Constitutions and the Classics: Patterns of Constitutional Thought from Fortescue to Bentham, Oxford University Press 312-326 (2014).
A Excepcionalidade Constitucional Americana Revisitada (with Luciene Dal Ri (translator) & Emily Zackin), 19 Novos Estudos Juridicos 695-754 (2014).
American Constitutional Exceptionalism Revisited, 81 University of Chicago Law Review 1641-1707 (2014).
Constitutional Variation Among Strains of Authoritarianism (with David S. Law), in Tom Ginsburg & Alberto Simpser, eds., Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes, Cambridge University Press 165-196 (2014).
The Diffusion of Constitutional Rights (with Benedikt Goderis), 39 International Review of Law & Economics 1-19 (2014).
The Evolution and Ideology of Global Constitutionalism (with David S. Law), Tsinghua Rule of Law Forum 273-370 (2014).
Unpopular Constitutionalism, 89 Indiana Law Journal 1133-1190 (2014).
Why Do Countries Adopt Constitutional Review? (with Tom Ginsburg), 30 Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization 587-622 (2014).
International Law in Domestic Legal Systems: An Empirical Perspective (with Pierre-Hugues Verdier), 108 Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 376-382 (2013).
Sham Constitutions (with David S. Law), 101 California Law Review 863-947 (2013).
Theoretical Perspectives on the Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions (with Denis J. Galligan), in Denis J. Galligan & Mila Versteeg, eds., Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions, Cambridge University Press 3-48 (2013).
Transnational Constitutions: A Conceptual Framework (with Benedikt Goderis), in Denis J. Galligan & Mila Versteeg, eds., Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions, Cambridge University Press 103-133 (2013).
When to Overthrow Your Government: The Right to Resist in the World’s Constitutions (with Tom Ginsburg & Daniel Lansberg-Rodriguez), 60 UCLA Law Review 1184-1260 (2013).
Human Rights Violations after 9/11 and the Role of Constitutional Constraints (with Benedikt Goderis), 41 Journal of Legal Studies 131-164 (2012).
Quantitative Methods for Comparative Constitutional Law (with Anne Meuwese), in Maurice Adams & Jacco Bomhoff, eds., Practice and Theory in Comparative Law, Cambridge University Press 230-257 (2012).
The Declining Influence of the United States Constitution (with David S. Law), 87 NYU Law Review 762-858 (2012).
The Evolution and Ideology of Global Constitutionalism (with David S. Law), 99 California Law Review 1163-1257 (2011).

Reports & Datasets

Analytic Report on the Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan (with Jose Cheibub et al.), International Development Law Organization (, 2012, ).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

States of Emergency: Part II (with Tom Ginsburg), Harvard Law Review Blog (April 20, 2020).
States of Emergency: Part I (with Tom Ginsburg), Harvard Law Review Blog (April 17, 2020).
Can Emergency Powers Go Too Far? (with Tom Ginsburg), Tablet (April 6, 2020).
Red and Blue America Agree That Now Is the Time to Violate the Constitution (with Adam Chilton, Kevin Cope & Charles Crabtree), The Atlantic (March 25, 2020).
The World Is Experiencing a New Form of Autocracy (with Tim Horley & Anne Meng), The Atlantic (March 1, 2020).
What Europe Can Teach America About Free Speech, The Atlantic (August 19, 2017).
The Failure of Constitutional Torture Prohibitions (with Adam Chilton), Washington Post (April 25, 2015).
An Exceptional Constitution, 15 Insights on the Law & Society 12-15 (2015).

IN THE NEWS

11/24/2020
06/12/2020
04/20/2020
04/17/2020
06/06/2019
12/15/2017
04/25/2015
02/06/2015
10/23/2014
12/13/2013
09/17/2013
04/18/2012
04/15/2012
02/27/2012
02/19/2012
02/10/2012
02/08/2012
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02/07/2012
02/07/2012
02/07/2012
‘Common Law’ Episode 4: The Law and Ethics of ‘Game of Thrones’