James E. Pfander

Owen L. Coon Professor of Law


James E. Pfander has focused his teaching and research on the role of the federal judiciary under Article III of the Constitution. His book, Constitutional Torts and the War on Terror (Oxford U. Press 2017), evaluates the failure of the federal courts to address the merits of the claims of individuals who were subjected to extraordinary rendition, military detention, and torture during the Bush Administration’s war on terror.

Scholarly articles explore the role of non-contentious jurisdiction in a federal system otherwise largely devoted to the resolution of disputes between adverse parties (Article III Judicial Power, the Adverse-Party Requirement, and Non-Contentious Jurisdiction, 124 Yale L.J. 1346 (2015) (with Daniel Birk)); the important distinction between “cases” and “controversies” in defining the work of the federal judiciary (In Search of the Probate Exception, 67 Vand. L. Rev. 1533 (2014) (with Michael Downey)); the lessons available from Scotland’s civil-law-inflected approach to the problem of litigant standing (Standing to Sue:  Lessons from Scotland’s Actio Popularis, 66 Duke L.J. 1493 (2017)); the origins and meaning of the anti-injunction act of 1793 (The Anti-Injunction Act and the Problem of Federal-State Jurisdictional Overlap, 92 Tex. L. Rev. 1 (2013) (with Nassim Nazemi)); and the possible influence of the Scottish judicial system on the structure of the federal court system (Article III and the Scottish Judiciary, 124 Harv. L. Rev. 1613 (2011) (also with Birk)).  Other books include Civil Procedure: A Modern Approach (6th ed. 2013) (with Marcus, Redish & Sherman); Federal Courts: Cases, Comments, and Questions (7th ed. 2011) (with Redish & Sherry), Principles of Federal Jurisdiction (3d ed. 2017); One Supreme Court: Supremacy, Inferiority, and the Judicial Power of the United States (Oxford U. Press 2009).

A member of the American Law Institute, Pfander currently serves as reporter/consultant to the Federal-State Jurisdiction Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States. He has served as chair of both the federal courts and civil procedure sections of the Association of American Law Schools.

Selected Publications

  • One Supreme Court: Supremacy, Inferiority, and the Judicial Power of the United States (Oxford University Press 2009).
  • Article III and the Scottish Judiciary in 124 harvard law review 1613-1687 (2011) (with Daniel D. Birk).
  • Resolving the Qualified Immunity Dilemma: Constitutional Tort Claims for Nominal Damages in 111 columbia law review 1601 (2011).
  • Collateral Review of Remand Orders: Reasserting the Supervisory Role of the Supreme Court in 159 university of pennsylvania law review 493-542 (2011).
  • Public Wrongs and Private Bills: Indemnification and Government Accountability in the Early Republic in 85 new york university law review 1862-1939 (2011) (with Jonathan L. Hunt).
  • Reclaiming the Immigration Constitution of the Early Republic: Prospectivity, Uniformity, and Transparency in 96 virginia law review 359-441 (2010) (with Theresa Wardon).
  • Rethinking Bivens: Legitimacy and Constitutional Adjudication in 98 georgetown law journal 117-151 (2009) (with David Baltmanis ).

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  • BA, University of Missouri
  • JD, University of Virginia

Prior Appointments

  • Prentice H. Marshall Professor of Law, University of Illinois College of Law
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Visiting Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

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