Jeffrey Kahn

Headshot of Jeffrey  Kahn, faculty member at SMU Dedman School of Law.

Justice John and Lena Hickman Distinguished Faculty Fellow and Professor of Law, University Distinguished Professor, and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor

Full-time faculty


Jeffrey Kahn is University Distinguished Professor, Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor, Professor of Law, and Robert G. Storey Distinguished Faculty Fellow at SMU Dedman School of Law. 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 SMU 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. He won the teaching award again in 2017 and 2021.

He is the author of MRS. SHIPLEY'S GHOST: THE RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND TERRORIST WATCHLISTS (University of Michigan Press, 2013, paperback edition 2014), and co-author of the casebook NATIONAL SECURITY LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION (Aspen, 2021), now on its second edition. Among other publications, his articles have appeared in the UCLA Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Virginia Journal of International Law, and the peer-reviewed Journal of National Security Law and Policy. 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, 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.

Area 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
Ph.D., Oxford University
J.D., University of Michigan Law School


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


NATIONAL SECURITY LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION (with Geoffrey Corn & Jimmy Gurulé, 2017; with Geoffrey Corn, Jimmy Gurulé & Gary Corn, 2d ed., Aspen 2021)




Russia, Ukraine, and the Challenge of Wartime Accountability, 56 Texas Tech Law Review 1 (2024)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Russia in the Council of Europe: A Difficult Relationship, 9 Russian Politics 1 (2024)
SMU Repository

The Irony of British Human Rights Exceptionalism, 1948-1998, 71 American Journal of Comparative Law 657 (2023)
SMU Repository

The 'Anti-Deference' Device: Article 18 of the European Convention on Human Rights, 31 Journal of Transnational Law & Policy 117 (2021-2022)
SSRN | SMU Repository

The Relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation: Conflicting Conceptions of Sovereignty in Strasbourg and St. Petersburg 30 European Journal of International Law 933 (2019)
Oxford Academic

The Rule of Law Under Pressure: Russia and the European Human Rights System 44 Review of Central and East European Law 275 (2019) (co-guest editor)

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

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

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

The Nacirema Revisited, 67 SMU Law Review 807 (2014)
SSRN | SMU Repository

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

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

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

Report on the Verdict against M.B. Khodorkovsky and P.L. Lebedev, 4 Journal of Eurasian Law 321 (2011)
SSRN | SMU Repository

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

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

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

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

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

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

International Travel and the Constitution, 56 UCLA Law Review 271 (2008)
SSRN | SMU Repository

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

Russia’s ‘Dictatorship of Law’ and the European Court of Human Rights, 29 Review of Central & East European Law 1 (2004)
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) (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))
SSRN | SMU Repository

The Parade of Sovereignties: Establishing the Vocabulary of the New Russian Federalism, 16 Post-Soviet Affairs 58 (2000)
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 (Oxford University Press 2019) 

Свобода СМИ: краткая и незаконченная история из Америки, КАК ПРИНЕСТИ ПРАВА ЧЕЛОВЕКА ДОМОЙ: ЗАЩИТА ПРАВ ЧЕЛОВЕКА В НАЦИОНАЛЬНЫХ И МЕЖДУНАРОДНЫХ ИНСТАНЦИЯХ 269 (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)]

The Richelieu Effect: The Khodorkovsky Case and Political Interference with Justicein A SOCIOLOGY OF JUSTICE IN RUSSIA 231 (Cambridge University Press 2018)

Four chapters (on history, separation of powers, prevention detention, and freedom of the press), in NATIONAL SECURITY LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION (Aspen/Wolters Kluwer 2017) (with Geoffrey Corn & Jimmy Gurule)

Terrorist Watchlists, in THE CAMBRIDGE HANDBOOK OR SURVEILLANCE LAW 71 (Cambridge University Press 2017)
SSRN | Cambridge University Press

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 (Silkenat, Hickey, & Barenboim eds. 2014)
SSRN | SMU Repository
How Federal Is The Russian Federation? in FEDERALISM & LEGAL UNIFICATION: A COMPARATIVE EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION OF TWENTY SYSTEMS (Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law & Justice, Vol. 28) 355 (Halberstam & Reimann, eds. 2014) (with Trochev & Balayan)

The Rule-of-Law Factor, in INSTITUTIONS, IDEAS AND LEADERSHIP IN RUSSIAN POLITICS  159 (Palgrave Macmillan 2010)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Adversarial Principles and the Case File in Russian Criminal Procedure, in RUSSIA & THE COUNSEL OF EUROPE: TEN YEARS AFTER 107 (Palgrave Macmillan 2010)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Presentation of Jeffrey Kahnin THE RUSSIAN CONSTITUTION AT FIFTEEN: ASSESSMENTS & CURRENT CHALLENGES TO RUSSIA'S LEGAL DEVELOPMENT 54 (Dresen & Pomeranz eds., Occasional Paper #304, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 2010)
SSRN | SMU Repository
Комментарий, Верховенство права и проблемы его обеспечения в правоприменительной практике (Москва: Издательство «Статут», 2009)

Putin’s Federal Reforms: A Legal-Institutional Perspective, in BEYOND THE GARDEN RING: DIMENSIONS OF RUSSIAN REGIONALISM 73 (Kivinen & Pynnöniemi eds., Kikimora 2002)
SSRN | SMU Repository

What Is The New Russian Federalism?, in CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN POLITICS: A READER 374 (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2001)
SSRN | SMU Repository

Федерализм и федератция, and Федерализм и демократия, in Основы теории и практики федерализма: Пособие для студентов высших учебных заведений 9 (Garant 1999)

Federalism, Democracy and Asymmetry: Issues in Comparative Perspective, in FEDERALISM: CHOICES IN LAW, INSTITUTIONS AND POLICY. A COMPARATIVE APPROACH  WITH FOCUS ON POLICY 23 (Garant 1998)

Other publications

Russia, the Council of Europe, and “Ruxit,” or, Why Illiberal Regimes Join International Organizations, 67 PROBLEMS OF POST-COMMUNISM 64 (2020) (with Irina Busygina)
Taylor & Francis Online

'Unlawful Influence' and the al-Nashiri Military Commission at Guantánamo Bay, 20 Journal of International Peacekeeping 219 (2016)