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Legal Historian Jeremy K. Kessler to Join Columbia Law School Faculty

Media Contact: Public Affairs, 212-854-2650 or publicaffairs@law.columbia.edu

New York, January 21, 2014—Jeremy K. Kessler, a legal historian whose scholarship focuses on First Amendment law, administrative law, and constitutional law generally, will join the Columbia Law School faculty July 1, 2015.

Legal historian Jeremy K. Kessler will join the Law School faculty next year
Kessler also has research interests in national security law, international human rights law, law and religion, and American political development. His current Ph.D. dissertation research traces how the rise and fall of the American draft transformed the relationship between civil liberties law and the administrative state. Combining legal history, political history, and constitutional theory, Kessler argues that civil liberties law rose to prominence in the early 20th century as part of a larger state-building project, and that leading civil libertarians initially saw administrative agencies as the primary enforcers of individual rights.

Kessler’s article, “The Administrative Origins of Modern Civil Liberties Law” (forthcoming from Columbia Law Review), unearths the improbable beginnings of modern civil liberties law in Woodrow Wilson’s War Department, where Felix Frankfurter, Harlan Fiske Stone, and a cadre of progressive administrators constructed a novel approach to conscientious objection. Kessler also writes about law and history for a wide range of non-academic publications, including The New Republic, n+1, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.

Kessler joins Columbia Law School from the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at New York University, where he served as the David Berg Foundation Fellow. Previously, he was a graduate fellow at Cardozo School of Law and a Middleton Fellow in Presidential Studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.

He is a summa cum laude graduate of Yale College and a Gates Cambridge Scholar who received an M.Phil. with distinction in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge. Kessler earned a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was a Legal History Fellow and executive editor of the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities.

Kessler will clerk for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in 2014–2015.

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