B.A., Amherst College; M.A., Cornell; Ph.D., Cornell; J.D., Stanford
Areas of Expertise:
- Constitutional Law
- Criminal Law and Procedure
- Human Rights Law
- International Law
- Jurisprudence and Philosophy
- Psychology, Behavioral Economics and Cognitive Science
Connect With John Mikhail
McDonough Hall 592
John Mikhail is the Carroll Professor of Jurisprudence at Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught since 2004. He teaches and writes on a variety of topics, including constitutional law, moral psychology, moral and legal theory, cognitive science, legal history, criminal law, torts, international law, and human rights.
Professor Mikhail is the author of Elements of Moral Cognition: Rawls’ Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment (Cambridge University Press, 2011; paperback edition, 2013) and over fifty articles, chapters, essays, and reviews in peer-edited journals, law reviews, and anthologies, including Ethics, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, The Philosophical Review, Law and History Review, Constitutional Commentary, Stanford Law Review, Virginia Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, The Oxford Handbook of Moral Psychology, and The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky.
Professor Mikhail’s scholarship is widely cited and has been discussed in Science, Nature, The Washington Post, The New York Times Magazine, The National Law Journal, Boston Review, The Nation, Der Spiegel, and other popular magazines and newspapers. He blogs at Balkinization and has commented on public affairs for ABC, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, PBS, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other media outlets. His recent scholarship has focused mainly on American constitutional history, including the original understanding of the Preamble, the Tenth Amendment, and the Emoluments, Ex Post Facto, and Necessary and Proper Clauses. In 2018, a federal district court relied on his research on the historical meaning of "emolument" to permit an unprecedented lawsuit against a sitting president to go forward in DC & Maryland v. Trump. More recently, his research has helped to raise awareness about Georgetown’s ties to slavery.
Professor Mikhail has lectured extensively throughout North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. He delivered a Green College Lecture at the University of British Columbia in 2012, the Rousseau Lectures at the University of Zurich in 2017, the Seegers Lecture at Valparaiso University in 2018, and a Plenary Lecture at the IVR World Congress in 2019. He has been an invited speaker at annual meetings of the American Association of Law Schools, American Constitution Society, American Philosophical Association, American Society for Legal History, International Association for Computing and Philosophy, International Conference on Thinking, Modern Language Association, Society for Philosophy and Psychology, and The Federalist Society. Among other engagements, he also has given invited lectures at Al-Quds University, Center for Advanced Studies LMU (Munich), Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Indian Institute for Advanced Study (Shimla), Jessup Correctional Institution, MIT Technology and Culture Forum, National Institutes of Health, Princeton University Center for Human Values, Sante Fe Institute, and Yale University Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics.
Professor Mikhail received his B.A. from Amherst College, a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cornell University, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he was Senior Article Editor of the Stanford Law Review and Senior Submissions Editor of the Stanford Journal of International Law. Before coming to Georgetown, he was a Lecturer and Research Affiliate in the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, an associate at Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett, and a judicial clerk to Judge Rosemary Barkett on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Professor Mikhail served as Associate Dean for Research and Academic Programs from 2017 to 2020 and Associate Dean for International and Transnational Programs from 2011 to 2013. He holds secondary appointments in Georgetown’s Philosophy Department and Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science.
Book Chapters & Collected Works
"John Mikhail ’91 Discusses Constitution’s Relationship to Slavery," coverage in The Amherst Student, November 30, 2022, featuring Professor John Mikhail.
"Organizers for slavery accountability disappointed with reconciliation fund," coverage in The Georgetown Voice, November 20, 2022, featuring Professor John Mikhail.
"William Gaston Enslaved at Least 163 People, Rejected Principle of Equal Citizenship", coverage in The Hoya, September, 30, 2022, featuring Professor John Mikhail.
"Senate Republicans seize on Dershowitz argument, say Trump's actions aren't impeachable", coverage in The Washington Post, January 28, 2020 quoting Professor John Mikhail.