Jules Lobel

Professor of Law


Professor Jules Lobel is the Bessie McKee Walthour Endowed Chair at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Recently, Lobel co-authored the award winning book, Less Safe, Less Free: Why America is Losing the War on Terror (2007) with Professor David Cole, which won the first Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize for exemplary scholarship exploring the tension between civil liberties and national security. He is also the author of, Success without Victory: Lost Legal Battles and the Long Road to Justice in America (2003), and editor of several books on Civil Rights Litigation as well as the U.S. Constitution.

He has authored numerous articles on international and constitutional law in publications including Yale Law Journal, Harvard International Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review and Virginia Law Review. Lobel’s article, entitled, Preventive Paradigm and the Perils of Ad Hoc Balancing was selected by Oxford University Press as one of the Top Ten Global Justice Law Review Articles in 2007.

Lobel is the recipient of the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Public Service Award (2002), and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (1993). In 2006, he received the Allegheny County Bar Foundation’s Career Achievement Award for Pro Bono Service, and in 2001 he was named by the School of Law as a Distinguished Faculty Scholar.

Lobel has also testified on various occasions before Congressional Committees, most recently on the issue of the Constitutional allocation of war powers before a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee. He advised the Nicaraguan government on the development of its constitution, and has also advised the Burundi government on constitutional law issues.  He has participated in various Human Rights delegations abroad, including being named the sole U.S. participant in a delegation consisting of prominent European former diplomats and human rights scholars to Israel.

Lobel is President of the Center for Constitutional Rights, a national human and constitutional rights organization headquartered in New York City. He  has litigated numerous cases involving Constitutional and Human Rights issues in the United States Courts and has represented members of Congress challenging various Presidents – both Democrat and Republican – assertions of Executive power to unilaterally initiate warfare Lobel has been involved in various cases challenging aspects of US policy toward suspected terrorists, including Rasul v. Bush, arguing for habeas corpus rights for Guantanamo detainees, Arar v. Ashcroft, seeking damages for a Canadian citizen who alleged that he was wrongfully rendered to Syria to be tortured by high U.S. officials, and Holder v. HLP, a Supreme Court case challenging aspects of the material aid to terrorism statute as violative of the First Amendment. In all of these cases, Lobel involved his students in the litigation, giving them first hand exposure to the constitutional litigation of important and complex issues.

Key/Recent Publications

Books and Monographs:

  • David Cole & Jules Lobel, Less Safe, Less Free: The Failure of Preemption in the War on Terror (New Press 2007).
  • Jules Lobel, Success Without Victory: Lost Legal Battles and The Long Road to Justice in America (New Press 2003).
  • Jules Lobel, A Less Than Perfect Union — Alternative Perspectives on the U.S. Constitution, Editor (Monthly Review Press 1988).

Scholarly Articles:

  • Fundamental Norms, International Law and the Extraterritorial Constitution, 36 Yale International Law __ (2011).
  • Covert War and the Constitution, 36 National Security Law and Policy __ (2012).
  • Separation of Powers, Individual Rights and the Constitution Abroad, __ Iowa Law Review __ (2013).
  • The Preventive Paradigm And The Perils Of Ad Hoc Balancing (9/11 Five Years on: A Look at the Global Response to Terrorism), 91 Minn. L. Rev. 1407-1450 (2007).
  • Jules Lobel & George Loewenstein, Emote Control: The Substitution of Symbol for Substance in Foreign Policy and International Law (Symposium: Must We Choose Between Rationality and Irrationality?), 80 Chicago-Kent L. Rev. 1045-1090 (Summer 2005).
  • Courts as Forums for Protest, 52 UCLA L. Rev. 477-561 (Dec. 2004).
  • Jules Lobel & Michael Ratner, International Law, the New Bush Doctrine and War with Iraq, 60 Guild Practitioner 205-215 (Fall 2003).
  • Preventive Detention: Prisoners, Suspected Terrorists and Permanent Emergency (Rounding Up Unusual Suspects: Human Rights in the Wake of 9/11), 25 Thomas Jefferson L. Rev. 389-413 (Spring 2003).
  • The War on Terrorism and Civil Liberties, 63 Univ. Pitt. L. Rev. 767-790 (Summer 2002).
  • H. Lee Halterman, Jules Lobel, Joel E. Starr, Michael Ratner & James Klimaski, The Fog of War (Powers), 37 Stan. J. Int'l L. 197-204 (Winter 2001).

Selected Presentations

  • Presenter, “Transformative Movements and Radical Moments,” Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Law,” (Nov. 2011).
  • Presenter, “Occupy and the Constitution,” Arizona State Law School, (Feb. 2012).
  • “Corporations and Human Rights Violations,” Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Law, (Feb. 2012).
  • Presenter, “Solitary Confinement in U.S. Prisons,” Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Law, (Feb. 2012).
  • Presenter, “Success Without Victory in Conservative Courts,” Loyola Law School, (March 2012).
  • Presenter, “The Constitutional and Legal Issues Surrounding the Marcellus Shale Production,” Heinz History Center, (March 2012).

Other Activities

  • Litigator, Peters Township v. Bd. of Elections, Marcellus Shale Coalition, Civ 2011, 6631 (Ct. Common Pleas, Washington County).
  • Co-Counsel, BNY Mellon v. Occupy Pittsburgh.
  • Lead Counsel, Ruiz v. Brown