Jeffrey Kahn

Jeffrey Kahn

Full-time faculty

University Distinguished Professor, Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Professor of Law

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding." - Justice Brandeis, dissenting in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 479 (1928).


Jeffrey Kahn is Professor of Law and Gerald J. Ford Research Fellow at SMU.  He was a resident in Norway during the 2017-2018 academic year as a Fulbright Research Scholar at the PluriCourts Centre in the Faculty of Law at the University of Oslo. He joined the faculty in Fall 2006 and teaches and writes on American constitutional law, administrative law, Russian law, human rights, and counterterrorism. In 2007-2008, he received the Maguire Teaching Fellow Award from the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility at SMU for his seminar, “Perspectives on Counterterrorism.” In 2008-2009, he was named a Colin Powell Fellow of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies. In 2010, he received SMU’s Outstanding Faculty Award, a university-wide award given each year to a junior, tenure-track faculty member for excellence in teaching, curricular development, and scholarship. In 2011, the year he was tenured and promoted to associate professor, he received the Law School's Excellence in Teaching Award.  He was promoted to full professor in 2014.

His latest research on U.S. legal topics focuses on the right to travel and national security law. His most recent book, MRS. SHIPLEY'S GHOST:  THE RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND TERRORIST WATCHLISTS (University of Michigan Press, 2013, paperback edition 2014), critically examines the U.S. Government's No Fly List. Among other publications, his articles have appeared in the UCLA Law ReviewMichigan Law Review, Virginia Journal of International Law, and the peer-reviewed Journal of National Security Law and Policy.  He has launched a new website, Watchlist Law, a clearinghouse on the latest news and litigation concerning the U.S. No Fly List.  His blog posts have been featured on Lawfare, Just Security, and Concurring Opinions.

His work on Russian law has been noted by name by the editors of the New York Times and published in various law reviews as well as the peer-reviewed journals Post-Soviet Affairs and Review of Central and East European Law. His latest research has focused primarily on the influence in Russia of the European Convention on Human Rights. In 2011, Russian President Dmitrii Medvedev’s Human Rights Council asked him─the one American among six other experts from Russia, one from Germany, and one from the Netherlands─to write an expert report on the second conviction of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev. Professor Kahn described this work and its repercussions in an op-ed published in the New York Times (online) and International Herald Tribune (print).

He is a graduate of Yale College, Oxford University (where he won the Hodgson Martin Prize for Best Dissertation for his doctoral work on Russian federalism), and the University of Michigan Law School. His first book, based on that dissertation, was published by Oxford University Press while he was a law student. During law school, he also served as a lecturer on European human rights law at summer training programs in Moscow for Russian lawyers sponsored by the Council of Europe. After law school, he was a law clerk to the Honorable Thomas P. Griesa of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He served as a trial attorney in the Civil Division, United States Department of Justice, from October 2003 until April 2006.

At SMU he was a founding member of the Advisory Board for the SMU Embrey Human Rights Education Program. SMU is the first university in the South, and only the fifth in the country, to offer an academic major in human rights.  During the fall 2013 semester, he was an O’Brien Research Fellow in Residence in the Faculty of Law at McGill University.  During the spring 2014 semester, he was a visiting professor teaching constitutional law in the School of Law at Washington & Lee University.

Areas of Expertise

  • U.S. Constitutional Law
  • Russian Law
  • National Security Law
  • International Human Rights Law
  • European Convention on Human Rights
  • Administrative Law


B.A., Yale University
M.PHIL., Oxford University
D.PHIL., Oxford University
J.D., University of Michigan


Constitutional Law
Administrative Law
Legislation and Regulation
Perspectives on Counterterrorism (Seminar)
European Convention on Human Rights (Seminar)


(Wolters Kluwer 2017) (with Geoffrey Corn & Jimmy Gurule)

Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists 
University of Michigan Press, 2013
(Paperback 2014)

Federalism, Democratization, and the Rule of Law in Russia
Oxford University Press, 2002


U.S. Legal Topics

The Unreasonable Rise of Reasonable Suspicion:  Terrorist Watchlists and Terry V. Ohio, 20 William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal 383 (2017)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Very Like A Whale:  Analogy & the Law, 13 Law, Culture & the Humanities 335 (2017)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

International Travel and the Constitution, 56 UCLA Law Review 271-350 (2008)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Zoya's Standing Problem, or, When Should the Constitution Follow the Flag?
, 108 Michigan Law Review 673-725 (2010)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

No-Limit Texas Hold’em, or, The Voir Dire in Dallas County
, 13 Green Bag 2D 383-97 (2010)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Ten Questions on National Security (invited essay), 36 William Mitchell Law Review Journal of the National Security Forum 5041-5060 (2010)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Extraordinary Mrs. Shipley: How the United States Controlled International Travel before the Age of Terrorism, 43 Connecticut Law Review 819-888 (2011)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Case of Colonel Abel
, 5 Journal of National Security Law & Policy (2011)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Nacirema Revisited
, 67 SMU Law Review 807-19 (2014)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

"Protection and Empire": The Martens Clause, State Sovereignty, and Individual Rights
, 56 Virginia Journal of International Law (2016) (lead article)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Russia and Rule-of-Law Topics

Freedom of Expression in Post-Soviet Russia
, 18 UCLA Journal of International Law & Foreign Affairs 1-30 (2013) (lead article)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Report on the Verdict against M.B. Khodorkovsky and P.L. Lebedev, 4 Journal of Eurasian Law 321-534 (2011) (entire issue devoted to report)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

     cited by the European Court of Human Rights,
          Khodorkovskiy & Lebedev v. Russia, App.
          Nos. 11082/06 & 13772/05, July 25, 2013,
          at ¶¶ 362 & 890

The Unification of Law in the Russian Federation (with A. Trochev & N. Balayan), 25 Post-Soviet Affairs 310-46 (Oct.-Dec. 2009)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Vladimir Putin & the Rule of Law in Russia
, 36 Georgia Journal of International & Comparative Law 511-58 (2008) (lead article)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

     quoted in New York Times editorial, Russia’s Dictatorship
          of Law
, Nov. 21, 2010, Week in Review Section, p. 7

Russia’s Criminal Procedure Code Five Years Out, (with William Burnham) 33 Review of Central & East European Law 1-93 (2008) (lead article)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Search for the Rule of Law in Russia, 37 Georgetown Journal of International Law 353-409 (2006)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Russia’s ‘Dictatorship of Law’ and the European Court of Human Rights, 29 Review of Central & East European Law 1-14 (2004) (lead article)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Russian Compliance with Articles Five & Six of the European Convention of Human Rights as a Barometer of Legal Reform & Human Rights in Russia, 35 Michigan Journal of Law Reform 641-94 (2002)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

     translated into Russian as Кан Джеффри. Исполнение
          Россией ст. 5 и 6 ЕКПЧ как показатель соблюдения
          прав человека //Российский бюллетень по правам
          человека. № 17 (2003)

The Parade of Sovereignties: Establishing the Vocabulary of the New Russian Federalism, 16 Post-Soviet Affairs 58-89 (2000)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository



Book Chapters

Hybrid Warfare, International Humanitarian Law, and the Case of Ukraine, in COMPLEX BATTLESPACES: THE LAW OF ARMED CONFLICT AND THE DYNAMICS OF MODERN WARFARE 191-221 (W. Williams & C. Ford, eds., Oxford University Press, 2019)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Свобода СМИ: краткая и незаконченная история из Америки, КАК ПРИНЕСТИ ПРАВА ЧЕЛОВЕКА ДОМОЙ: ЗАЩИТА ПРАВ ЧЕЛОВЕКА В НАЦИОНАЛЬНЫХ И МЕЖДУНАРОДНЫХ ИНСТАНЦИЯХ 269-288 (Под ред. Антона Леонидовича Буркова, М., 2018) [Freedom of the Press: A Short and Incomplete History from America, in How to Bring Human Rights Home: Protection of Human Rights in National and International Institutions (A.L. Burkov, ed., 2018)].
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Four chapters (on history, separation of powers, prevention detention, and freedom of the press), in NATIONAL SECURITY LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION (Aspen/Wolters Kluwer, forthcoming 2017) (with Geoffrey Corn & Jimmy Gurule)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Richelieu Effect:  The Khodorkovsky Case and Political Interference with Justice, in A SOCIOLOGY OF JUSTICE IN RUSSIA 231 (Marina Kurkchiyan & Agnieszka Kubal eds., Cambridge University Press, 2018)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

Terrorist Watchlists, in THE CAMBRIDGE HANDBOOK OR SURVEILLANCE LAW 71 (David Gray & Stephen E. Henderson eds., Cambridge University Press, 2017)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository

The Law is a Causeway: Metaphor & the Rule of Law in Russia, in THE LEGAL DOCTRINES OF THE RULE OF LAW & THE LEGAL STATE  (Rechtsstaat)(Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law & Justice, Vol. 38) 229-250 (Silkenat, Hickey, & Barenboim, eds., Springer, 2014)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
How Federal Is The Russian Federation? (with Trochev & Balayan) in FEDERALISM & LEGAL UNIFICATION:  A COMPARATIVE EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION OF TWENTY SYSTEMS (Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law & Justice, Vol. 28) 355-390 (Halberstam & Reimann, eds., 2014) [republication of  Russian Federation, (with Trochev & Balayan) in FEDERALISM & LEGAL UNIFICATION: A COMPARATIVE EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION OF TWENTY SYSTEMS  257-282 (Halberstam, Reimann, & Sánchez-Córdero, eds., Int‘l Acad. Comp. Law, 2012)]
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
The Rule-of-Law Factor, in INSTITUTIONS, IDEAS AND LEADERSHIP IN RUSSIAN POLITICS  159-83 (J. Newton & Wm. Tompson eds., Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
Adversarial Principles and the Case File in Russian Criminal Procedure, in RUSSIA & THE COUNSEL OF EUROPE:  TEN YEARS AFTER 107-33 (Malfliet & Parmentier eds., Palgrave Macmillan, 2010)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
Presentation of Jeffrey Kahnin THE RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION AT FIFTEEN: ASSESSMENTS & CURRENT CHALLENGES TO RUSSIA'S LEGAL DEVELOPMENT 54-59 (Dresen & Pomeranz eds., Occasional Paper #304, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2010)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
Комментарий, Верховенство права и проблемы его обеспечения в правоприменительной практике (Москва: Издательство «Статут», 2009).
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
Putin’s Federal Reforms: A Legal-Institutional Perspective, in BEYOND THE GARDEN RING: DIMENSIONS OF RUSSIAN REGIONALISM 73-109 (Kivinen & Pynnöniemi eds., Kikimora, 2002)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
What Is The New Russian Federalism?, in CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN POLITICS:  A READER 374-83 (Archie Brown ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
Федерализм и федератция, and Федерализм и демократия, in Основы теории и практики федерализма: Пособие для студентов высших учебных заведений 9-22 (K. Malfliet & L. Nasyrova eds., Garant, 1999)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository
Federalism, Democracy and Asymmetry: Issues in Comparative Perspective, in FEDERALISM: CHOICES IN LAW, INSTITUTIONS AND POLICY. A COMPARATIVE APPROACH  WITH FOCUS ON POLICY 23-39 (K. Malfliet & L. Nasyrova eds., Garant, 1998)
Full-text:  SSRN | SMU Repository