Jeremy Kessler

Jeremy Kessler

  • Professor of Law

Ph.D., Yale University, expected 2020
J.D., Yale Law School
M.Phil., University of Cambridge
B.A., Yale College

Areas of Specialty

First Amendment Law
Administrative Law
Legal History
Constitutional Law
National Security Law

A noted legal historian, Jeremy Kessler writes primarily about First Amendment law, administrative law, and constitutional law. His forthcoming book, Fortress of Liberty: The Rise and Fall of the Draft and the Remaking of American Law (Harvard University Press, 2021) explores how the contested development of the military draft transformed the relationship between civil liberties law and the American administrative state. 

Kessler’s past scholarship has investigated the origins of modern First Amendment law, the legal and political economic foundations of the administrative state, and transatlantic debates about the relationship between rights and governance throughout the 20th century. His articles have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and Texas Law Review, among other publications. 

After joining the Columbia Law School faculty in 2015, Kessler participated in the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought’s Foucault 13/13 (2015 to 2016) and Uprising 13/13 (2017 to 2018) interdisciplinary seminar series. He moderated panels on Foucault’s seventh lecture series at the Collège de France as well as counterrevolution and insurgency.

Kessler is co-director of Columbia University’s 20th Century Politics and Society Workshop and Columbia Law School's Legal History Workshop. He also serves on the ABA’s Committee on the History of Administrative Law.

Earlier in his career, Kessler clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. His prior positions include the David Berg Foundation Fellowship at the Tikvah Center for Law & Jewish Civilization at NYU School of Law, a graduate fellowship at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, and the Harry Middleton Fellowship in Presidential Studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library.

During his time at Yale Law School, Kessler was a Legal History Fellow and the executive editor of the Yale Journal of Law and the Humanities.


  • “New Look Constitutionalism,” 167 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1749, 2019
  • “The Search for an Egalitarian First Amendment,” (with David Pozen), 118 Columbia Law Review 1953, 2018
  • “The Early Years of First Amendment Lochnerism,” 116 Columbia Law Review, 2016
  • “Working Themselves Impure: A Life-Cycle Theory of Legal Theories,” (with David Pozen), 83 University of Chicago Law Review, 2016
  • “The Political Economy of ‘Constitutional Political Economy,’” 94 Texas Law Review 1527, 2016
  • “The Struggle for Administrative Legitimacy,” 129 Harvard Law Review 718, 2016
  • “A War for Liberty: On the Law of Conscientious Objection,” (Michael Geyer and Adam Tooze, eds.), 3 The Cambridge History of World War II, 2015
  • “The Administrative Origins of Modern Civil Liberties Law,” 114 Columbia Law Review 1083, 2014
  • “The Invention of a Human Right: Conscientious Objection at the United Nations, 1947-2011,” 44 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 753, 2013

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