Noah Feldman

Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law

Director, Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law

Hauser 210

617-495-9140

Assistant: Shannon Whalen-Lipko / 617-495-4620

Biography

Noah Feldman specializes in constitutional studies, with particular emphasis on the relationship between law and religion, constitutional design, and the history of legal theory.  Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, he is also a Senior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard. In 2003 he served as senior constitutional advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, and subsequently advised members of the Iraqi Governing Council on the drafting of the Transitional Administrative Law or interim constitution. He received his A.B. summa cum laude in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from Harvard University in 1992. Selected as a Rhodes Scholar, he earned a D.Phil. in Oriental Studies from Oxford University in 1994.  From 1999 to 2002, he was a Junior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard.  Before that he served as a law clerk to Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court (1998 to 1999) and to Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1997 to 1998).He received his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1997, serving as Book Reviews Editor of the Yale Law Journal. He is the author of seven books: Cool War: The Future of Global Competition (Random House, 2013); Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR’s Great Supreme Court Justices (Twelve Publishing, 2010); The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Princeton University Press, 2008); Divided By God: America's Church-State Problem and What We Should Do About It (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2005); What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation building (Princeton University Press 2004); and After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2003. He most recently co-authored Constitutional Law, Eighteenth Edition (Foundation Press, 2013) with Kathleen Sullivan.

Areas of Interest

Kathleen M. Sullivan & Noah R. Feldman, Constitutional Law (Found. Press 19th ed. 2016).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
Type: Book
Abstract
The Nineteenth Edition is an updated version of this classic casebook, adding new materials on the Supreme Court’s most recent decisions on federal power, free speech, equal protection and religious freedom to its existing comprehensive coverage of separation of powers, federalism, civil rights and civil liberties. This casebook provides a unique combination of clearly structured and lawyerly coverage of the cases with rich historical, theoretical, and philosophical materials that illuminate the development of our constitutional law. In the 19th edition, you will find the latest decisions on gay marriage, street signs and confederate flags, campaign contribution limits, congressional power over voting rights, and religious exemptions from health care mandates, among many others. The note materials and questions in the casebook make it easy to structure classes and promote lively discussion. And comparative examples from the constitutional law of other nations are provided throughout.
Noah R. Feldman, Mormonism in the American Political Domain, in The Oxford Handbook of Mormonism ch. 39 (Terri E. Givens & Philp L. Barlow eds., 2015).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Religion
,
Religion & Law
Type: Book
Noah R. Feldman, Haider Ala Hamoudi, Negotiating in Civil Conflict: Constitutional Construction and Imperfect Bargaining in Iraq (2014), 47 Int’l J. Middle E. Stud. 177 (2015) (book review).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Foreign Relations
,
Foreign Law
Type: Article
Noah R. Feldman, Could FDR Have Done More to Save the Jews? 61 N.Y. Rev. Books 40 (May 8, 2014)(reviewing Richard Breitman & Allan J. Lichtman, FDR & the Jews (2013), Rafael Medoff, FDR & the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith (2013)).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Religion
,
Jewish Law
,
Religion & Law
Type: Article
Noah R. Feldman, Cool War: The United States, China, and the Future of Global Competition (Random House 2013).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Law & Economics
,
Foreign Relations
,
East Asian Legal Studies
,
International Trade
Type: Book
Abstract
The Cold War seemingly ended in a decisive victory for the West. But now, Noah Feldman argues, we are entering an era of renewed global struggle: the era of Cool War. Just as the Cold War matched the planet’s reigning superpowers in a contest for geopolitical supremacy, so this new age will pit the United States against a rising China in a contest for dominance, alliances, and resources. Already visible in Asia, the conflict will extend to the Middle East (U.S.-backed Israel versus Chinese-backed Iran), Africa, and beyond. Yet this Cool War differs fundamentally from the zero-sum showdowns of the past: The world’s major power and its leading challenger are economically interdependent to an unprecedented degree. Exports to the U.S. account for nearly a quarter of Chinese trade, while the Chinese government holds 8 percent of America’s outstanding debt. This positive-sum interdependence has profound implications for nations, corporations, and international institutions. It makes what looked to be a classic contest between two great powers into something much more complex, contradictory, and badly in need of the shrewd and carefully reasoned analysis that Feldman provides. To understand the looming competition with China, we must understand the incentives that drive Chinese policy. Feldman offers an arresting take on that country’s secretive hierarchy, proposing that the hereditary “princelings” who reap the benefits of the complicated Chinese political system are actually in partnership with the meritocrats who keep the system full of fresh talent and the reformers who are trying to root out corruption and foster government accountability. He provides a clear-eyed analysis of the years ahead, showing how China’s rise presents opportunities as well as risks. Robust competition could make the U.S. leaner, smarter, and more pragmatic, and could drive China to greater respect for human rights. Alternatively, disputes over trade, territory, or human rights could jeopardize the global economic equilibrium—or provoke a catastrophic “hot war” that neither country wants. The U.S. and China may be divided by political culture and belief, but they are also bound together by mutual self-interest. Cool War makes the case for competitive cooperation as the only way forward that can preserve the peace and make winners out of both sides.
Noah R. Feldman, The Ethical Literature: Religion and Political Authority as Brothers, 5 J. Persianate Stud. 95 (2012).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Islamic Law
Type: Article
Abstract
This essay discusses the contribution of the Muslim ethical literature of the middle ages to Islamic political thought. The ethical literature offers a perspective on the medieval Islamic constitution that differs markedly from the picture that derives from the juristic literature on the caliphate. Where the juristic literature largely portrays political authority as the servant of religion, the ethical literature presents religion and political authority as “brothers” arrayed in a relationship of mutual dependence. This view is decisively influenced by pre-Islamic Iranian thinking on the relationship between religion and politics, as contained in the “Letter of Tansar.”
Noah R. Feldman, The Fall and Rise of the Islamic State (Princeton Univ. Press 2012).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Religion
,
Religion & Law
,
Islamic Law
Type: Book
Abstract
Noah Feldman tells the story behind the increasingly popular call for the establishment of the sharia--the law of the traditional Islamic state--in the modern Muslim world.
Noah R. Feldman, Response to Hamoudi, 2 Middle E.L. & Governance 104 (2010).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Islamic Law
Type: Article
Noah R. Feldman, Keynote Address, Islamic Constitutionalism in Context: A Typology and a Warning, 7 U. St. Thomas L.J. 436 (2010).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Islamic Law
Type: Article
Noah R. Feldman, Scorpions: The Battles and Triumphs of FDR's Great Supreme Court Justices (Twelve Books 2010).
Categories:
Legal Profession
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Judges & Jurisprudence
,
Supreme Court of the United States
,
Biography & Tribute
Type: Book
Abstract
A tiny, ebullient Jew who started as America's leading liberal and ended as its most famous judicial conservative. A Klansman who became an absolutist advocate of free speech and civil rights. A backcountry lawyer who started off trying cases about cows and went on to conduct the most important international trial ever. A self-invented, tall-tale Westerner who narrowly missed the presidency but expanded individual freedom beyond what anyone before had dreamed. Four more different men could hardly be imagined. Yet they had certain things in common. Each was a self-made man who came from humble beginnings on the edge of poverty. Each had driving ambition and a will to succeed. Each was, in his own way, a genius. They began as close allies and friends of FDR, but the quest to shape a new Constitution led them to competition and sometimes outright warfare. Scorpions tells the story of these four great justices: their relationship with Roosevelt, with each other, and with the turbulent world of the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War. It also serves as a history of the modern Constitution itself.
Noah R. Feldman, 'The Framers' Church-State Problem--and Ours, in The Constitution in 2020 221 (Jack M. Balkin & Reva B. Siegel eds., 2009).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Religion
,
Constitutional History
Type: Book
Abstract
Edited by two of America's leading constitutional scholars, the book provides a new framework for addressing the most important constitutional issues of the future in clear, accessible language.
Noah R. Feldman, When Judges Make Foreign Policy, N.Y. Times Mag., Sept. 28, 2008, at MM50.
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Judges & Jurisprudence
,
Politics & Political Theory
,
Separation of Powers
Type: News
Noah R. Feldman, Enemy-Criminals: The Law and the War on Terror, in The Enemy Combatant Papers: American Justice, the Courts, and the War on Terror xvii (Karen J. Greenberg & Joshua L. Dratel eds., 2008).
Categories:
Criminal Law & Procedure
,
Government & Politics
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Terrorism
,
Military, War, & Peace
,
National Security Law
Type: Book
Abstract
This book provides comprehensive coverage of Supreme Court cases defining the status and rights of detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay US Navy Base.
Noah R. Feldman, Shari'a and Islamic Democracy in the Age of Al-Jazeera, in Shari'a: Islamic Law in the Contemporary Context 104 (Abbas Amanat & Frank Griffel eds., 2007).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Islamic Law
Type: Book
Abstract
This volume presents ten leading scholars' writings on contemporary Islamic law and Muslim thought. The essays examine a range of issues, from modern Muslim discourses on justice, natural law, and the common good, to democracy, the social contract, and "the authority of the preeminent jurist." Changes in how Shari'a has been understood over the centuries are explored, as well as how it has been applied in both Sunni and Shi'i Islam.
Noah R. Feldman, Divided by God: America's Church-State Problem - And What We Should Do About It (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2005).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Religion
,
Religion & Law
Type: Book
Noah R. Feldman, After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2004).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Religion
,
Religion & Law
,
Islamic Law
Type: Book
Abstract
A lucid and compelling case for a new American stance toward the Islamic world. What comes after jihad? Outside the headlines, believing Muslims are increasingly calling for democratic politics in their undemocratic countries.
Noah R. Feldman, What We Owe Iraq: War and the Ethics of Nation Building (Princeton Univ. Press 2004).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
Military, War, & Peace
,
Military & Veterans Law
,
Foreign Relations
Type: Book
Abstract
What do we owe Iraq? America is up to its neck in nation building--but the public debate, focused on getting the troops home, devotes little attention to why we are building a new Iraqi nation, what success would look like, or what principles should guide us. What We Owe Iraq sets out to shift the terms of the debate, acknowledging that we are nation building to protect ourselves while demanding that we put the interests of the people being governed--whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, or elsewhere--ahead of our own when we exercise power over them. Noah Feldman argues that to prevent nation building from turning into a paternalistic, colonialist charade, we urgently need a new, humbler approach. Nation builders should focus on providing security, without arrogantly claiming any special expertise in how successful nation-states should be made. Drawing on his personal experiences in Iraq as a constitutional adviser, Feldman offers enduring insights into the power dynamics between the American occupiers and the Iraqis, and tackles issues such as Iraqi elections, the prospect of successful democratization, and the way home. Elections do not end the occupier's responsibility. Unless asked to leave, we must resist the temptation of a military pullout before a legitimately elected government can maintain order and govern effectively. But elections that create a legitimate democracy are also the only way a nation builder can put itself out of business and--eventually--send its troops home. Feldman's new afterword brings the Iraq story up-to-date since the book's original publication in 2004, and asks whether the United States has acted ethically in pushing the political process in Iraq while failing to control the security situation; it also revisits the question of when, and how, to withdraw.

Current Courses

Course Catalog View

Hauser 210

617-495-9140

Assistant: Shannon Whalen-Lipko / 617-495-4620