Professor Christina Ponsa-Kraus

Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

  • George Welwood Murray Professor of Legal History

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2010
J.D., Yale Law School, 1998
M.Phil., University of Cambridge, 1995
B.A., Princeton University, 1990

Areas of Specialty

American Legal History
Constitutional Law

Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus joined the faculty of Columbia Law School in 2007. She writes about the constitutional history of American territorial expansion and the extraterritorial application of the U.S. Constitution, examining their implications for American federalism, citizenship, and nationhood. Ponsa-Kraus is especially interested in the legal issues surrounding the political status of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories (the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the CNMI, and American Samoa), and has written about these issues in the mainstream media as well as in scholarly publications. She is the co-editor of Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico, American Expansion, and the Constitution, a groundbreaking study of the United States’ unfinished colonial experiment.

Ponsa-Kraus is currently working on a study of recent legal developments affecting the status of the U.S. territories.

Before joining the Law School, Ponsa-Kraus clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and for Justice Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. She is an affiliated faculty member of the Columbia University Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.




Amicus Briefs

Brief for Scholars of Constitutional Law and Legal History as Amici Curiae Supporting Appellees With Respect To the Insular Cases, Fitsemanu v. United States, Nos. 20-4017 & 20-4019, United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit (submitted on May 12, 2020) (on whether the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the U.S. territory of
American Samoa).

Brief of Amici Curiae Scholars of Constitutional Law and Legal History Supporting the First Circuit’s Ruling on the Appointments Clause Issue, Financial Oversight and Management Board v. Aurelius, LLC, Nos. 18-1334, -1475, -1496, -1514, -1521, Supreme Court of the United States (submitted on August 29, 2019) (on whether the appointment of the members of the FOMB violated the Appointments Clause).

Brief of Amici Curiae Scholars of Constitutional Law and Legal History in Support of Neither Party, Segovia v. Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, No.16-4240 (submitted on April 19, 2017) (challenging denial of absentee ballots to former residents of Illinois who have relocated to U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands).

Brief of Amici Curiae Christina Duffy Ponsa and Sam Erman in Support of
, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Valle, Supreme Court
of the United States, No. 15-108 (submitted on December 22, 2015) (on whether Puerto Rico is a separate sovereign for double jeopardy purposes).