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Kim Lane Scheppele

Faculty Fellow

Kim Scheppele

Kim Lane Scheppele joined the Princeton faculty in 2005 as the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Public Affairs and the University Center for Human Values and Director of the Program in Law and Public Affairs. For nearly a decade she was on the Penn Law faculty where she was the John J. O'Brien Professor of Comparative Law and Professor of Sociology. Before that, she taught from 1984-1996 at the University of Michigan, where her primary appointment was in political science, and where she held secondary appointments in the law school and in what has become the Ford School of Public Policy. She is a former LAPA fellow (2004-2005), a former fellow at the Internationales Forchungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (Vienna) (1995), a senior fellow at the National Constitution Center (1998-1999), a faculty fellow at the Michigan Institute for the Humanities (1991-1992) and the recipient of multiple grants from the American National Science Foundation for residential field work abroad. She received her PhD in sociology from the University of Chicago (1985) and her A.B. in urban studies from Barnard College (1975).

Scheppele concentrates on comparative constitutional law, using ethnographic, historical and doctrinal methods to understand the emergence and collapse of constitutional systems. After 1989, she has focused her attention on the transformation of the countries under Soviet domination into constitutional rule-of-law states. She spent fully half of the years between 1994 and 2004 living in Hungary and then in Russia, studying the Constitutional Courts of each country and examining the ways in which the new constitutions have (or have not) seeped into public consciousness. Her many publications on post-communist constitutional transformation have appeared in law reviews (most recently the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Drake Law Review, and I-Con) and in social science journals (most recently, the Law and Society Review; Law and Courts and the International Journal of Sociology).


  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Evidence
  • Jurisprudence
  • Law and Society
  • Post-Soviet Law

Articles and Book Chapters

We Are All Post-9/11 Now. 75 FORDHAM L. REV. 607-629 (2006).

Guardian of the Constitution: Constitutional Court Presidents and the Struggle for the Rule of Law in Post-Soviet Europe. 154 U. PA. L. REV. 1757-1851 (2006).

The Migration of Anti-Constitutional Ideas: The Post-9/11 Globalization of Public Law and the International State of Emergency. in Sujit Choudhry (ed.), THE MIGRATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL IDEAS (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

A Realpolitik Defense of Social Rights, 82 U. TEX. L. REV. 1921 (2004).

Other People’s Patriot Acts: Europe’s Response to September 11, 50 LOY. L. REV. 89 (2004).

Constitutional Negotiations: Political Contexts of Judicial Activism in Post-Soviet Europe, 18 INT'L SOC. 219 (2003).

Law in a Time of Emergency: States of Exception and the Temptations of 9/11, 6 U. PA. J. CONST. L. 1001 (2004).

Constitutional Ethnography: An Introduction, 38 LAW & SOC’Y REV. 389 (2004).

Aspirational and Aversive Constitutionalism: The Case for Studying Cross-Constitutional Influence through Negative Models, 1 INT'L J. CONST. L. 296 (2003).

Democracy by Judiciary (Or Why Courts Can Sometimes Be More Democratic Than Parliaments), in RETHINKING THE RULE OF LAW IN POST-COMMUNIST EUROPE, (edited by Wojciech Sadurski, Martin Krygier, and Adam Csarnota) (2003).

The Agendas of Comparative Constitutionalism, 13 LAW & CTS. 5 (2003).

Declarations of Independence: Judicial Responses to Political Pressure. In Stephen Burbank and Barry Friedman (eds.), JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE AT THE CROSSROADS (SAGE 2002).

When the Law Doesn't Count: The Rule of Law and Election 2000. 49 U. PA. L. REV. 1361 (2001).

The Ground-Zero Theory of Evidence, 49 HASTINGS L.J. 321 (1998).

Rules of Law: The Complexity of Legality in Hungary, (with ANTAL ÖRKÉNY), in THE RULE OF LAW IN POST-COMMUNIST SOCIETIES (Martin Krygier and Adam Csarnota eds., 1999).

The History of Normalcy: Rethinking Legal Autonomy and the Relative Dependence of Law at the End of the Soviet Empire, 30 LAW & SOC'Y REV. 627 (1996).

Living Well is the Best Revenge: The Hungarian Approach to Judging the Past, 155 in TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN NEW DEMOCRACIES (A. James McAdams ed., Notre Dame University Press 1996) (with Gábor Halmai).

The Inevitable Corruption of Transition, 14 U. CONN. J. INTL L. 509 (1999).

More publications can be found here.

Research Areas

  • Post-communist Constitutional Transformation
  • Constitutional Structures and Rights in Times of National Crisis
  • Counter-terrorism Policies in Democratic Systems


Penn Law - John J. O'Brien Professor of Comparative Law (2004 - ); Professor of Law and Sociology (1996-2004)

Fellow, Center for Law and Public Affairs, Princeton University (2004-05)

Program on Gender and Culture, Central European University, Budapest - Co-Director, (1996-98 on leave from Penn)

Michigan - Arthur F. Thurnau Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Policy (1993-96); Assistant Professor (1985-90); Associate Professor of Political Science (1990-96) and Research Scientist in Public Policy with adjunct status in the Law School

Bucknell - Assistant Professor of Sociology (1980-84)


  • Terrorism and Democracy
  • Constitutionalism
  • Comparative Constitutional Politics
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Post-Communist Law and Society
  • Evidence
  • Constitutional Ethnography

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