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Eric Posner

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Eric Posner
Professor Eric Posner.jpg
Posner in 2006
Born (1965-12-05) December 5, 1965 (age 55)
NationalityUnited States
Alma materYale University
Harvard Law School
Known forThe Limits of International Law (2005, ISBN 0-19-516839-9; with Jack Goldsmith).
Scientific career
FieldsInternational law, Law and Economics, Contract law
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago Law School

Eric Andrew Posner (/ˈpznər/; born December 5, 1965)[1] is an American law professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He teaches international law, contract law, and bankruptcy, among other areas. As of 2014, he was the 4th most-cited legal scholar in the United States.[2] He is the son of retired Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner.


Posner attended Yale University (B.A. and M.A. degrees in philosophy, summa cum laude) and received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude) in 1991. He clerked for Judge Stephen F. Williams of the D.C. Circuit.[3]


Posner started his teaching career at the University of Pennsylvania Law School from 1993 to 1998.[4] In 1998, Posner joined the University of Chicago Law School where he is now the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Esther Kane Research Chair.[5] He has also been a visiting professor at Columbia Law School and NYU School of Law.[6] From 1998 to 2011, he was an editor of The Journal of Legal Studies.[7] He is the author or co-author of many books and articles, on subjects including international law,[8] cost-benefit analysis,[9] and constitutional law.[10] At Chicago he teaches Antitrust, Contracts, Public International Law, and Financial Regulation, amongst other courses.


Posner's published books have ranged over several topics including international law, foreign relations law, contracts, and game theory and the law.[11] In 2005, Posner posted about the trial of the deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.[12]

In June 2013, Posner and Jameel Jaffer, fellow at the Open Society Foundations, participated in The New York Times Room for Debate series.[13] Posner responded to concerns about expanded National Security Agency (NSA) programs that vacuum information about the private lives of American citizens. Those who oppose the surveillance claim that the collection and storing of unlimited metadata is a highly invasive form of surveillance of citizens' communications. Posner claimed that Americans obtain the services they want by disclosing private information to strangers such as doctors and insurance companies. Posner in 2013 argued that since 2001 there had not been a single instance of "war-on-terror-related surveillance in which the government used information obtained for security purposes to target a political opponent, dissenter or critic".[13]

In 2015, Posner co-founded the book review The New Rambler.[14] Posner's position concerning the heightened standing of the executive branch of government was criticized in 2016 by Jeremy Waldron in his book Political Political Theory as not sufficiently sensitive to issue of legislative priorities.[15] In 2018, Posner co-wrote an article advocating a system of market-oriented, privately sponsored work visas as a supplement to U.S. immigration policy.[16]

Selected bibliography[edit]



  • "Understanding the Resemblance Between Modern and Traditional Customary International Law", 40 Va. J. Int’l Law 639 (2000; with Jack L. Goldsmith)
  • "Moral and Legal Rhetoric in International Relations: A Rational Choice Perspective", 31 J. Legal Stud. S115 (2002; with Jack Goldsmith)
  • "Do States Have a Moral Obligation to Comply with International Law?", 55 Stan. L. Rev. 1901 (2003)
  • "A Theory of the Laws of War", 70 U. Chi. L. Rev. 297 (2003)
  • "Transnational Legal Process and the Supreme Court’s 2003–2004 Term: Some Skeptical Observations", 12 Tulsa Journal of Comparative and International Law 23 (2004)
  • "Judicial Independence in International Tribunals", 93 Cal. L. Rev. 1 (2005; with John Yoo)
  • "Optimal War and Jus ad Bellum", 93 Georgetown L.J. 993 (2005) (with Alan Sykes)
  • "Terrorism and the Laws of War", 5 Chi. J. Int’l L. 423 (2005)
  • "International Law and the Disaggregated State", 32 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 797 (2005)
  • "International Law and the Rise of China", 7 Chi. J. Int’l L. 1 (2006; with John Yoo)
  • "International Law: A Welfarist Approach", 73 U. Chi. L. Rev. 487 (2006)
  • "An Economic Analysis of State and Individual Responsibility Under International Law", Amer. L. & Econ. Rev. (forthcoming; with Alan Sykes)
  • "Deference to the Executive in the United States after September 11: Congress, the Courts, and the Office of Legal Counsel," 35 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 213 (2012).
  • "Is the International Court of Justice Biased?," J. Legal Stud. (forthcoming) (with Miguel de Figueiredo).

Newspaper columns[edit]

Personal life[edit]

He has a wife and two children. He is a son of the former United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judge Richard Posner.


  1. ^ date & year of birth, full name according to LCNAF CIP data
  2. ^ "New Document". Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  3. ^ "Eric Posner: Education and Experience". University of Chicago Law School. Archived from the original on March 14, 2015. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Academic Faculty Full Time Teaching Faculty Eric A. Posner.” University of Chicago Law School. Retrieved on June 17, 2021.
  6. ^ "Eric Posner Faculty Profile at University of Chicago". University of Chicago. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  7. ^ Miles, Thomas J.; Ben-Shahar, Omri (2011). "Tribute to Eric Posner". The Journal of Legal Studies. 40 (1): iii. doi:10.1086/660267. JSTOR 10.1086/660267. S2CID 155041143.
  8. ^ Goldsmith, Jack L.; Posner, Eric A. "The Limits of International Law". Oxford University Press (2006). Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  9. ^ Adler, Matthew D.; Posner, Eric D. "Cost-Benefit Analysis: Legal, Economic, and Philosophical Perspectives". University of Chicago Press (2001). Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  10. ^ Posner, Eric. "The Constitutional Authority for Executive Orders on Immigration Is Clear". The New York Times. Retrieved March 13, 2015.
  11. ^ "The Perils of Global Legalism". Retrieved June 4, 2010.[dead link]
  12. ^ "The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog: Saddam's Trial". November 30, 2005. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  13. ^ a b Eric Posner; Jameel Jaffer (June 9, 2013). "Secrecy and Freedom". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
  14. ^ Kerr, Orin (March 3, 2015). "The New Rambler". Washington Post. Retrieved May 24, 2016.
  15. ^ Jeremy Waldron (2017). in his book Political Political Theory. Harvard University Press. 2016. Page 70.
  16. ^ "Sponsor An Immigrant Yourself". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved 2018-02-21.

External links[edit]