Mila Versteeg

  • 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 60 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

Books

The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Human Rights Law (edited with Neha Jain), Oxford University Press (2022).
How Constitutional Rights Matter (with Adam Chilton), Oxford University Press (2020).
Comparative International Law (edited 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).

Textbooks

Comparative Constitutional Law: A Global and Interdisciplinary Approach (with Tom Ginsberg & David Landau), Oxford University Press (2022).
Comparative Constitutional Law (edited with Vicki C. Jackson), Routledge (2021).

Book Chapters

Approaches to Identifying Constitutional Law (with Adam Chilton), in Concepts, Data, and Methods in Comparative Law and Politics, Cambridge University Press (2022).
The Politics of Rights (with Adam Chilton), in Research Handbook on the Politics of Constitutional Law, Edward Elgar (2022).
Rule of Law Measurement (with Tom Ginsberg), in The Cambridge Companion to the Rule of Law, Cambridge University Press, 494-512 (2021).
Constitution-Making, Methodology, and Interpretation (with Vicki C. Jackson), in Comparative Constitutional Law, Routledge, 1-7 (2021).
Constitutional Rights (with Vicki C. Jackson), in Comparative Constitutional Law, Routledge, 1-7 (2021).
Constitutions and Constitutionalism (with Vicki C. Jackson), in Comparative Constitutional Law, Routledge, 1-6 (2021).
Government Structures and Frameworks (with Vicki C. Jackson), in Comparative Constitutional Law, Routledge, 1-8 (2021).
Separation of Powers, Treaty-Making, and Treaty Withdrawal: A Global Survey (with Pierre-Hugues Verdier), in Oxford Handbook of Comparative Foreign Relations Law, Oxford University Press, 135-155 (2019).
Conceptualizing Comparative International Law (with Anthea Roberts, Paul B. Stephan & Pierre-Hugues Verdier), in Comparative International Law, Oxford University Press, 3-31 (2018).
Limiting Judicial Discretion (with Emily Zackin), in Comparative Judicial Review, Edward Elgar, 290-316 (2018).
Modelo constitucional colombiano en perspectiva comparada latinoamericana y global (with Nelson Camilo Sánchez León), in Veinticinco años de la Constitución (1991-2016). Debates constitucionales y perspectivas constituyentes, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 105-127 (2018).
Constitutional Correlates of the Rule of Law (with Tom Ginsburg), in Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law: Bridging Idealism and Realism, Cambridge University Press, 506-525 (2017).
Modes of Domestic Incorporation of International Law (with Pierre-Hugues Verdier), in Research Handbook on the Politics of International Law, Edward Elgar, 149-175 (2017).
Constitutions (with Kevin Cope), in International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Elsevier, 710-715 (2 ed. 2015).
“Perfection in Imperfection”: Joseph de Maistre and the Limitations of Constitutional Design, in Constitutions and the Classics: Patterns of Constitutional Thought from Fortescue to Bentham, Oxford University Press, 312-326 (2014).
Constitutional Variation Among Strains of Authoritarianism (with David S. Law), in Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes, Cambridge University Press, 165-196 (2014).
Theoretical Perspectives on the Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions (with Denis J. Galligan), in Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions, Cambridge University Press, 3-48 (2013).
Transnational Constitutions: A Conceptual Framework (with Benedikt Goderis), in Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions, Cambridge University Press, 103-133 (2013).
Quantitative Methods for Comparative Constitutional Law (with Anne Meuwese), in Practice and Theory in Comparative Law, Cambridge University Press, 230-257 (2012).

Articles & Reviews

Small-c Constitutional Rights (with Adam Chilton), moac004 International Journal of Constitutional Law (2022).
Abusive Constitutional Borrowing (reviewing Rosalind Dixon & David Landau, Abusive Constitutional Borrowing) American Journal of Comparative Law (2022).
Measurement and Causal Identification in Constitutional Law (with Adam Chilton), 19 International Journal of Constitutional Law 1842–1853 (2021).
The Global Evolution of Foreign Relations Law (with Kevin Cope & Pierre-Hugues Verdier), American Journal of International Law 1-67 (2021).
Binding the Unbound Executive: Checks and Balances in Times of Pandemic (with Tom Ginsburg), 19 International Journal of Constitutional Law 1498–1535 (2021).
Empirical Constitutional Studies: Future Directions (with Adam Chilton), University of Chicago Law Review Online (2021).
Can Rights Combat Economic Inequality? (reviewing Samuel Moyn, Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World) 133 Harvard Law Review 2017-2060 (2020).
The Law and Politics of Presidential Term Limit Evasion (with Timothy Horley 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).
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).
Courts’ Limited Ability to Protect Constitutional Rights (with Adam S. Chilton), 85 University of Chicago Law Review 293-335 (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).
Measuring the Rule of Law: A Comparison of Indicators (with Tom Ginsberg), 42 Law and Social Inquiry 100-137 (2017).
The Political Economy of the Constitutional Right to Asylum (with Lucas Kowalczyk), 102 Cornell Law Review 1219-1317 (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).
Measuring the Rule of Law: Pushing Forward (with Tom Ginsberg), 2 Law and Social Inquiry Forum 10-12 (2016).
International Law, Constitutional Law, and Public Support for Torture (with Adam S. Chilton), 3 Research & Politics 1-9 (2016).
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).
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).
Comparative International Law: Framing the Field (with Anthea Roberts, Paul B. Stephan & Pierre-Hugues Verdier), 109 American Journal of International Law 467-474 (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).
American Constitutional Exceptionalism Revisited, 81 University of Chicago Law Review 1641-1707 (2014).
The Diffusion of Constitutional Rights (with Benedikt Goderis), 39 International Review of Law & Economics 1-19 (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).
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).
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).

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).

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