About Me

David S. Law photo

I am the E. James Kelly, Jr.—Class of 1965 Research Professor of Law at the University of Virginia and Honorary Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong. Prior to joining the UVA faculty, I was the Sir Y.K. Pao Chair in Public Law at the University of Hong Kong; Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine; and Charles Nagel Chair of Constitutional Law and Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis. I have also taught at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, University of San Diego School of Law, and (as an adjunct) the UCSD Department of Political Science. I hold a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a B.C.L. in European and Comparative Law from the University of Oxford, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford University, where I also studied as an undergraduate in the Public Policy Program.

In spring 2020, I taught first-year Constitutional Law and an upper-year Comparative Constitutional Law elective as a Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. During the 2014-15 academic year, I was the Martin and Kathleen Crane Fellow in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University, where I taught a freshman seminar on “Constitutional Law and International Law.” During the 2012-13 academic year, I was Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. During the 2010-11 academic year, I was a scholar in residence at the NYU School of Law. I spent the fall of 2010 and part of winter 2011 as a visiting professor and Fulbright Scholar at the National Taiwan University College of Law, where I conducted research on constitutional politics in Taiwan and the globalization of constitutional law. Over the summer of 2011, I was also a visiting professor at Seoul National University School of Law, where I taught comparative constitutional law and performed fieldwork on the Korean Constitutional Court. I have also been a visiting professor and Hitachi Fellow in the Faculty of Law at Keio University in Tokyo, where I studied the internal politics of the Japanese Supreme Court. I am grateful to the Council on Foreign Relations for awarding me the Hitachi Fellowship, which made possible my research in Japan.

My research combines the interdisciplinary study of law and political science with the transnational study of public law and constitutional theory. In the area of law and political science, I have written on the politics and strategy of judicial appointments, the strategic and ideological behavior of federal judges, and the relationship between electoral politics and judicial politics. In the areas of constitutional theory and comparative public law, I have published articles on the emergence of constitutional similarities across countries, the impact of constitutional law on the credibility of sovereign commitments, and the potential effects of global investment and migration patterns on the protection of constitutional rights.