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Melissa A. Waters

Professor of Law

Professor Melissa A. Waters is an expert in international law, foreign relations law, international human rights law, and international conflicts of law. Her scholarship focuses on the intersection of international and domestic law, and in particular on the incorporation of treaties and other forms of international law into domestic legal regimes. She has written extensively on the role of transnational judicial dialogue in shaping international legal norms, and on the debate in Congress and in the media over the use of foreign and international law in interpreting the U.S. Constitution. Her work has been cited by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and has been published in numerous top law journals and academic presses. Professor Waters serves on the law school’s Faculty Advisory Board for the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute and is Washington University’s Ambassador to Utrecht University in the Netherlands in conjunction with the McDonnell International Scholars Academy. She was also a visiting faculty fellow at the Brookings Institution. Prior to entering law teaching, Professor Waters clerked for the Hon. Morris S. Arnold, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. She also practiced law for the Washington, D.C. firm of Williams & Connolly, where she was a member of President Clinton’s legal defense team. She served in the U.S. State Department as Senior Advisor to Harold Hongju Koh, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights & Labor. Additionally, she was a consultant to the Soros Foundation Open Society Institute, specializing in the design, development, and implementation of rule of law and human rights capacity building projects. In addition to her scholarly work, Professor Waters specializes in developing and conducting human rights and rule of law training programs for legal professionals in transitional democracies, most recently partnering with the State Department, the Department of Justice, and ABA/CEELI to train judges and government officials from Iraq and Central Asia. Her work with Iraqi legal professionals has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. She is a proud native of Elm Springs, Arkansas.

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