The Columbia Human Rights Law Review

Constitutional Cities: Sanctuary Jurisdictions, Local Voice, and Individual Liberty

Toni M. Massaro and Shefali Milczarek-Desai

Manuscript–Forthcoming in Volume 50.1 (Fall 2018)
See HRLR Online


This Article analyzes the recent wave of sanctuary jurisdiction lawsuits and identifies ways in which they undermine claims that local governments are “mere instrumentalities of the state” or otherwise powerless in the face of federal or state authority.

Pereira v. Sessions:
A Jurisdictional Surprise for Immigration Courts

Kit Johnson
Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law
See Volume 3.1 of HRLR Online


The United States Supreme Court issued a bombshell opinion regarding immigration court procedure on June 21, 2018: Pereira v. Sessions. On its face, the case is a boon for certain noncitizens seeking relief from deportation. Yet, as this Essay explains, Pereira’s implications are far greater.

Modern Self-Defense in Practice: Two Case Scenarios

José Luis Aragón Cardiel, Amanda Davis, and Lauranne Macherel

See Volume 2.2 of HRLR Online


The article explores possible legal bases States could draw on in using military force to respond to significant threats or harms that are not military in nature but that may be optimally tackled with some form of military action where the United Nations Security Council (Security Council) has failed to act.

HRLR Alumnae Selected for Supreme Court Clerkships


Beatrice Franklin ’14 and Sarah Hartman Sloan ’16 will serve as law clerks to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, former faculty advisor to the journal, and retired Justice John Paul Stevens. Read more here. 

The Columbia Human Rights Law Review is the leading legal journal on human rights, covering foreign and domestic human and civil rights issues. HRLR also publishes HRLR Online, an online forum for timely, responsive human rights scholarship, and A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, a guide for prisoners to pursue claims pro se. 

The Trump Human Rights Tracker

To aid journalists, civil society organizations, and the general public, the human rights organizations of Columbia Law School have launched a tool to track the Trump administration’s actions and their impact on human rights. The tracker summarizes the action taken by the President, identifies the human rights implications, and provides links to sources where readers can find more detailed analysis.

Read the announcement here.

A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual

A handbook of legal rights and procedures designed for use by people in prison. Since publication of the First Edition in 1978, tens of thousands of prisoners in institutions across the country have used A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual to exercise their legal rights. Prisoners are often indigent and lack access to legal counsel while incarcerated. The JLM informs prisoners of their legal rights and instructs them about how to secure these rights through the judicial process, clearly explaining legal research techniques and how to read legal documents. Prisoners may use the JLM to address specific problems related to their treatment in prison, or to attack their unfair convictions or sentences.