Eric Posner

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Eric Posner
Professor Eric Posner.jpg
Born (1965-12-05) December 5, 1965 (age 52)
Residence Chicago, Illinois,
United States
Nationality United States
Fields International law
Institutions University of Chicago Law School
Alma mater Yale University
Harvard Law School
Known for The Limits of International Law (2005, ISBN 0-19-516839-9; with Jack Goldsmith).

Eric Andrew Posner (born December 5, 1965)[1] is an American law professor and son of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit judge Richard Posner. He is a professor of 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]


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


Posner is the Kirkland and Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School, where he joined the faculty in 1998.[4] From 1998 to 2011, he was an editor of The Journal of Legal Studies.[5] He is the author or co-author of many books and articles, on subjects including international law,[6] cost-benefit analysis,[7] and constitutional law.[8]

He has taught courses in international law, foreign relations law, contracts, and game theory and the law[when?].[9] His current[when?] research focuses on international law, foreign relations law, and international tribunals.[citation needed]

In 2005, he posted about the trial of the deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.[10]

In June 2013, Posner and Jameel Jaffer, fellow at the Open Society Foundations, participated in the New York Times's Room for Debate series.[11] 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 "the market services of doctors, insurance companies, Internet service providers, employers, therapists and the rest, or the nonmarket services of the government like welfare and security." Posner argued that, since 2001 there has not been an incident in which the United States government used information "obtained for security purposes with "war-on-terror-related surveillance" technologies to "target a political opponent, dissenter or critic."[11]

Select writings



  • "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 Calif. 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)
  • "Is the International Court of Justice Biased?," J. Legal Stud. (forthcoming) (with Miguel de Figueiredo).

Newspaper columns


  1. date & year of birth, full name according to LCNAF CIP data
  2. "New Document". Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  3. "Eric Posner: Education and Experience". University of Chicago Law School. Retrieved 13 March 2015.  External link in |website= (help)
  4. "Eric Posner Faculty Profile at University of Chicago". University of Chicago. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  5. "Tribute to Eric Posner". JSTOR. The Journal of Legal Studies. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  6. Goldsmith, Jack L.; Posner, Eric A. "The Limits of International Law". Oxford University Press (2006). Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  7. Adler, Matthew D.; Posner, Eric D. "Cost-Benefit Analysis: Legal, Economic, and Philosophical Perspectives". University of Chicago Press (2001). Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  8. Posner, Eric. "The Constitutional Authority for Executive Orders on Immigration Is Clear". New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  9. "The Perils of Global Legalism". Retrieved June 4, 2010. [dead link]
  10. "The University of Chicago Law School Faculty Blog: Saddam's Trial". November 30, 2005. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 Eric Posner; Jameel Jaffer (9 June 2013). "Secrecy and Freedom". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 

External links