menu

John Mikhail


Agnes N. Williams Research Professor; Associate Dean, Research and Academic Programs, Professor of Law

B.A., Amherst; M.A., Ph.D., Cornell; J.D., Stanford

Areas of Expertise:

Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure, Human Rights Law, International Law, Jurisprudence and Philosophy, Psychology and Psychiatry, Torts

After graduating from Stanford Law School, where he was Senior Article Editor of the Stanford Law Review and Senior Submissions Editor of the Stanford Journal...

Continue Reading

After graduating 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, Professor Mikhail joined the law firm of Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett. He then served as a judicial clerk to Judge Rosemary Barkett on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.

Professor Mikhail's research interests include torts, criminal law, constitutional law, international law, jurisprudence, moral and legal philosophy, legal history, and law and cognitive science. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cornell University and was a Lecturer and Research Affiliate in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A revised and expanded version of his Ph.D dissertation on "Rawls' Linguistic Analogy" has been published by Cambridge University Press: Elements of Moral Cognition: Rawls' Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment

Professor Mikhail has been a Visiting Scholar at Stanford Law School, a Visiting Junior Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a visiting member of the Law Faculty at the University of Zurich. His research on moral psychology has been featured in Science, Der Spiegel, Boston Review, and other media outlets. His publications have appeared in a wide range of scholarly journals, including Stanford Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Law and History Review, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, Psychology of Learning and Motivation, and Archiv fur Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie. From January 2011 to July 2013, he served as Associate Dean for International and Transnational Legal Studies.

Visit Professor Mikhail's home page.

Recent Scholarship

Forthcoming Works and Works in Progress

  • John Mikhail, Chomsky and Moral Philosophy, in The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky (J. McGilvray ed., Cambridge University Press 2d ed. forthcoming).    [SSRN]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • John Mikhail, The Constitution and the Philosophy of Language: Entailment, Implicature, and Implied Powers, 101 Va. L. Rev. 1063-1103 (2015).    [W] [WWW]
  • John Mikhail, The Necessary and Proper Clauses, 102 Geo. L.J. 1045-1132 (2014).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [WWW]
  • John Mikhail, 123 Ethics 354-356 (2013) (reviewing Patricia S. Churchland, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality (2011)).    [SSRN]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • John Mikhail, Moral Grammar and Human Rights: Some Reflections on Cognitive Science and Enlightenment Rationalism, in Understanding Social Action, Promoting Human Rights 160-198 (Ryan Goodman, Derek Jinks & Andrew K. Woods eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2012).    [SSRN] [BOOK]
View all scholarship

All Scholarship 2000 - Present

Forthcoming Works and Works in Progress

  • John Mikhail, Chomsky and Moral Philosophy, in The Cambridge Companion to Chomsky (J. McGilvray ed., Cambridge University Press 2d ed. forthcoming).    [SSRN]

Books

  • John Mikhail, Elements of Moral Cognition: Rawls' Linguistic Analogy and the Cognitive Science of Moral and Legal Judgment (New York: Cambridge University Press 2011).    [BOOK]

Contributions to Law Reviews and Other Scholarly Journals

  • John Mikhail, The Constitution and the Philosophy of Language: Entailment, Implicature, and Implied Powers, 101 Va. L. Rev. 1063-1103 (2015).    [W] [WWW]
  • John Mikhail, The Necessary and Proper Clauses, 102 Geo. L.J. 1045-1132 (2014).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN] [WWW]
  • John Mikhail, 123 Ethics 354-356 (2013) (reviewing Patricia S. Churchland, Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us About Morality (2011)).    [SSRN]
  • John Mikhail, Emotion, Neuroscience, and Law: A Comment on Darwin and Greene, 3 Emotion Rev. 1-3 (2011).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law]
  • John Mikhail, Rawls' Concept of Reflective Equilibrium and Its Original Function in A Theory of Justice, 3 Wash. U. Jurisprudence Rev. 1-30 (2010).    [HEIN] [SSRN]
  • John Mikhail, Is the Prohibition of Homicide Universal? Evidence from Comparative Criminal Law, 75 Brook. L. Rev. 497-515 (2009).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN]
  • John Mikhail, Dilemmas of Cultural Legality: A Comment on Roger Cotterrell's 'The Struggle for Law' and a Criticism of the House of Lords' Opinions in Begum, 4 Int'l J.L. in Context 385-393 (2009).    [Gtown Law] [WWW]
  • John Mikhail, Scottish Common Sense and Nineteenth-Century American Law: A Critical Appraisal, 26 Law & Hist. Rev. 167-175 (2008).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN]
  • John Mikhail, Marc Hauser, Fiery Cushman, Liane Young & R. Kang-Xing Jin, A Dissociation Between Moral Judgments and Justifications, 22 Mind & Language 1-21 (2007).   
  • John Mikhail, Universal Moral Grammar: Theory, Evidence and the Future, 11 Trends Cognitive Sci. 143-152 (2007).   
  • John Mikhail, Moral Heuristics or Moral Competence? Reflections on Sunstein, 28 Behav. & Brain Sci. 557-558 (2005).    [W] [WWW]
  • John Mikhail, Note, Law, Science, and Morality: A Review of Richard Posner's The Problematics of Moral and Legal Theory, 54 Stan. L. Rev. 1057-1127 (2002).    [HEIN] [W] [SSRN]
  • John Mikhail, "Plucking the Mask of Mystery from Its Face": Jurisprudence and H.L.A. Hart, 95 Geo. L.J. 733-779 (2007) (reviewing Nicola Lacey, A Life of H.L.A. Hart: The Nightmare and the Noble Dream (2004)).    [HEIN] [W] [Gtown Law]
  • John Mikhail & Matthias Mahlmann, The Liberalism of Freedom in the History of Moral Philosophy, 89 Archiv für Rechts-Und Sozialphilosophie 122 (2003) (reviewing John Rawls, Lectures on the History of Moral Philosophy (2000)).   
  • John Mikhail, 36 Stan. J. Int'l L. 357-360 (2000) (reviewing John Rawls, The Law of Peoples: With "the Idea of Public Reason Revisited" (1999)).    [HEIN] [W]

Book Chapters and Collected Works

  • John Mikhail, Moral Grammar and Human Rights: Some Reflections on Cognitive Science and Enlightenment Rationalism, in Understanding Social Action, Promoting Human Rights 160-198 (Ryan Goodman, Derek Jinks & Andrew K. Woods eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2012).    [SSRN] [BOOK]
  • John Mikhail, Constraining the Necessity Defense, in Criminal Law Conversations (Paul H. Robinson, Kimberly Ferzan & Stephen Garvey eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2009).    [BOOK]
  • John Mikhail, Moral Grammar and Intuitive Jurisprudence: A Formal Model of Unconscious Moral and Legal Knowledge, in 50 The Psychology of Learning and Motivation: Moral Judgment and Decision Making 27-100 (Daniel M. Bartels, Christopher W. Bauman, Linda J. Skitka & Douglas L. Medin eds., London: Academic Press 2009).    [SSRN] [BOOK]
  • John Mikhail, Self-Defense Against Wrongful Attack: The Case of the Psychotic Aggressor, in Criminal Law Conversations (Paul H. Robinson, Kimberly Ferzan & Stephen Garvey eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2009).    [BOOK]
  • John Mikhail, Unconscious Choices in Legal Analysis, in Criminal Law Conversations (Paul H. Robinson, Kimberly Ferzan & Stephen Garvey eds., New York: Oxford University Press 2009).    [BOOK]
  • John Mikhail, Moral Cognition and Computational Theory, in 3 Moral Psychology: The Neuroscience of Morality 81-92 (Walter Sinnott-Armstrong ed., Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press 2008).    [SSRN] [Gtown Law] [BOOK]
  • John Mikhail, The Poverty of Moral Stimulus, in 1 Moral Psychology: The Evolution of Morality: Adaptations and Innateness 353-360 (Walter Sinnott-Armstrong ed., Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press 2007).    [SSRN] [BOOK]
  • John Mikhail, The Free Exercise of Religion: An American Perspective, in Ein Neuer Kampf der Religionen? Staat, Recht, und religiöse Toleranz 271-288 (Matthias Mahlmann & Hubert Rottleuthner eds., Berlin, F.R.G.: Duncker & Humboldt 2006).   
  • John Mikhail & Matthias Mahlman, Cognitive Science, Ethics, and Law, in Epistemology and Ontology: IVR-Symposium Lund 2003: Law and Politics in Search of Balance 95-102 (Zenon Bankowski ed., Stuttgart, F.R.G.: Franz Steiner Verlag 2005).    [BOOK]
  • John Mikhail, Islamic Rationalism and the Foundation of Human Rights, in 3 Pluralism and the Law: Proceedings of the 20th IVR World Congress, Amsterdam, 2001: Global Problems 61-70 (Arend Soeteman ed., Wiesbaden, F.R.G.: Franz Steiner Verlag 2004).    [BOOK]
Recent scholarship

In the News

"Trump's DOJ is Misleading Court in Emoluments Suit, New Study Claims", coverage in The National Law Journal, July 26, 2017, featuring Professor John Mikhail.  

"Trump's DOJ Is 'Misleading' Court in Emoluments Suit, New Study Claims," coverage by the National Law Journal, July 26, 2017, quoting Professor and Associate Dean John Mikhail and citing his article on emolument definitions. The article was also cited by Bloomberg Law.

 Professor John Mikhail appeared on WGN Radio, June 22, 2017. Topic: "A law professor and CATO Institute fellow tell us if President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause". 

"A law professor and CATO Institute fellow tell us if President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause," coverage on WGN Radio, June 22, 2017, featuring Professor John Mikhail.

"GULC Launches Williams Research Professorships," coverage in The Hoya, Feberuary 19, 2016, featuring Dean William M. Treanor, Associate Dean for Research Josh Teitelbaum, Professors Kristin Henning and John Mikhail, and Agnes Williams.

All News

"Trump's DOJ is Misleading Court in Emoluments Suit, New Study Claims", coverage in The National Law Journal, July 26, 2017, featuring Professor John Mikhail.  

"Trump's DOJ Is 'Misleading' Court in Emoluments Suit, New Study Claims," coverage by the National Law Journal, July 26, 2017, quoting Professor and Associate Dean John Mikhail and citing his article on emolument definitions. The article was also cited by Bloomberg Law.

 Professor John Mikhail appeared on WGN Radio, June 22, 2017. Topic: "A law professor and CATO Institute fellow tell us if President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause". 

"A law professor and CATO Institute fellow tell us if President Trump is violating the Emoluments Clause," coverage on WGN Radio, June 22, 2017, featuring Professor John Mikhail.

"GULC Launches Williams Research Professorships," coverage in The Hoya, Feberuary 19, 2016, featuring Dean William M. Treanor, Associate Dean for Research Josh Teitelbaum, Professors Kristin Henning and John Mikhail, and Agnes Williams.

Recent News

On The Web

Maps & Directions

Google Location Map Georgetown University Law Center 600 New Jersey Avenue NW Washington, DC 20001