David S. Law

Charles Nagel Chair of Constitutional Law and Political Science;
Affiliated Faculty, East Asian Studies
(on leave 2016-2017)


B.A. 1993, Stanford University;
J.D. 1996, Harvard Law School;
M.A. 2000, Stanford University;
B.C.L. in European and Comparative Law, 2003, University of Oxford;
Ph.D. 2004, Stanford University

Curriculum Vitae


SSRN Author Page




Rachel Mance - (314) 935-6403 

Phone / Email

Preferred Phone: (314) 266-9698
E-mail: davidlaw@wustl.edu
Website: http://www.davidlaw.ca  


Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 565

Courses Taught

Constitutional Law I
Federal Courts
Administrative Law
Law & Political Science
Judicial Politics
Comparative Judicial Politics
Comparative Constitutional Law 


Professor David Law’s interests include public law, comparative law, law and social science, judicial politics, and constitutional and political theory. His interdisciplinary and comparative approach combines quantitative data analysis and foreign fieldwork. His scholarship on global constitutional trends has been featured in a variety of media outlets including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Globe and Mail, and the Asahi Shimbun and has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Romanian. He has served as a UN consultant on legal and political reform in Yemen and provided training sponsored by the State Department to Burmese lawmakers on constitutional reform. His first book, The Japanese Supreme Court and Judicial Review, was published in Japanese by Gendaijinbunsha.

Prior to entering academia, Professor Law served as executive editor of the Harvard Law Review, clerked for the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and practiced law with Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in Los Angeles. He then obtained a Ph.D. in political science at Stanford University while concurrently attending the University of Oxford as a Clarendon Scholar, where he received a graduate degree in European and comparative law. Professor Law held joint appointments in the law school at the University of San Diego and the political science department at the University of California, San Diego before joining the faculty at Washington University. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Fulbright Scholar Program. Born and raised in Canada, he speaks Mandarin and French and has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University Law Center, National Taiwan University, Seoul National University, National University of Singapore, and Keio University in Tokyo and a visiting scholar at the NYU School of Law.

During the 2014-15 academic year, Professor Law was the Martin and Kathleen Crane Fellow in Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) at Princeton University. During the 2016-17 academic year, he will be pursuing a book project on Asian constitutional law while based at the University of Hong Kong.

Representative Publications

Recent Books, Articles and Essays

  • "Judicial Comparativism and Judicial Diplomacy," 163 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 927 (2015)
  • "Constitutional Convergence and Comparative Competency: A Reply to Professors Jackson and Krotoszynski," 66 Alabama Law Review 145 (2014)
  • "Constitutional Variation among Strains of Authoritarianism" (with M. Versteeg), Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes (eds. T. Ginsburg & A. Simpser), Cambridge University Press 2014
  • "The Myth of the Imposed Constitution," The Social and Political Foundations of Constitutions (eds. D. Galligan & M. Versteeg),  Cambridge University Press 2013
  • "Sham Constitutions" (with M. Versteeg), 101 California Law Review 863 (2013)
  • Nihon no saikosai wo kaibou suru [The Japanese Supreme Court and Judicial Review] Gendaijinbunsha (published in Japanese, 2013)
  • "The Declining Influence of the United States Constitution" (with M. Versteeg), 87 NYU Law Review (2012)
  • "The Evolution and Ideology of Global Constitutionalism" (with M. Versteeg), 99 California Law Review 1163 (2011), translated into Chinese, Tsinghua Rule of Law Forum (X. Xiaofei trans., forthcoming 2012)
  • "How to Rig the Federal Courts," 99 Georgetown Law Journal 779 (2011)
  • "Judicial Independence," The International Encyclopedia of Political Science (eds. B. Badie et al.), Sage Publications (2011)
  • "The Limits of Global Judicial Dialogue" (with W.-C. Chang), 86 Washington Law Review 423 (2011)
  • "Why Has Judicial Review Failed in Japan?," 88 Washington University Law Review 1425 (2011) (essay)
  • Review of David B. Goldman, Globalisation and the Western Legal Tradition: Recurring Patterns of Law and Authority, 52 American Journal of Legal History (2011)
  • "Constitutions," The Oxford Handbook of Empirical Legal Research (eds. P. Cane & H.M. Kritzer), Oxford University Press (2010) 
  • "Law Versus Ideology: The Supreme Court and the Use of Legislative History" (with D. Zaring), 51 William & Mary Law Review 1653 (2010)
  • Foreword to The Supreme Court and Benign Elite Democracy in Japan (H. Itoh), Palgrave MacMillan (2010)
  • "The Anatomy of a Conservative Court: Judicial Review in Japan," 87 Texas Law Review 1545 (2009), translated into Japanese, 79 Seikei-Ronso, No. 1(2) (trans. S. Nishikawa, 2010)
  • "A Theory of Judicial Power and Judicial Review," 97 Georgetown Law Journal (2009)
  • "What Is Judicial Ideology, and How Do We Measure It?" (with J. B. Fischman), 29 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy 133 (2009)

Forthcoming Scholarship

  • Cheng-Yi Huang & David S. Law, "Judicial Control of Administrative Action: Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and China," in Comparative Law and Regulation (Francesca Bignami & David Zaring eds., forthcoming 2015)

Recent Activities

  • Presented papers at Tulane Law School and American University Washington College of Law
  • While working under the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, provided support and expertise to the political transition and state-building effort in Yemen, pursuant to §16 of UN Security Council Resolution 2051
  • Met and consulted with a group of Burmese legislators brought in by the State Department on constitutional reform in Burma [more]