Marco Basile studies U.S. public law within the broader contexts of international, transnational, and global history. His scholarship focuses on the many transformations in public law between the founding and the twentieth century—from political to judicial constitutionalism, from the law of nations to international law, from unwritten to written law. Among his current projects is a first book, Saltwater Sovereignty: Constitutional Diplomacy in the Age of Slavery, which traces the origins of modern arguments about territorial sovereignty in disputes over the governance of the Atlantic slave trade and maritime commerce. His other writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the Virginia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, Journal of the Civil War Era, and as chapters in edited volumes. He serves as the U.S. Book Reviews Editor for the American Journal of Legal History.
He previously practiced appellate litigation and international arbitration, following clerkships with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge David Barron of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, and Judge Paul Watford of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Between clerkships, he was a Samuel I. Golieb Fellow in Legal History at New York University School of Law.
He received a JD and a PhD in History from Harvard and an MPhil in Political Thought and Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge. During graduate school, he was the Book Reviews Chair for the Harvard Law Review, an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and a resident pre-law tutor at one of Harvard’s undergraduate residential colleges. For his work with students, Harvard awarded him the John R. Marquand Award for Exceptional Advising and Counseling of Harvard Students.
- Marco Basile, Ordinary Meaning and Plain Meaning, 110 Va. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2024).
- Marco Basile, Lincoln’s Commissioners on the International Slave Trade Courts at Sierra Leone, 10 J. Civil War Era 160 (2020).
- Paul J. Watford, Richard C. Chen & Marco Basile, Crafting Precedent, 131 Harv. L. Rev. 543 (2017) (reviewing Bryan A. Garner, Carlos Bea, Rebecca White Berch et al., Law of Judicial Precedent (2016)).