Visiting Faculty
Elizabeth Wilson
Rutgers Law School
S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice
123 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Elizabeth A. Wilson specializes international human rights and public international law. Her current research focuses on the interface between international law, democracy, and nonviolent social movements for human rights. In 2017, she received a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholarship and has just returned from New Delhi, India, where she conducted research for a book entitled “Be the Change: Gandhi and the Human Rights Project”(forthcoming from Columbia University Press).  

  • Biography
  • Publications

Elizabeth A. Wilson received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2003. From 2003 to 2006, she was an associate in the litigation department of WilmerHale, where she was part of the original Boumediene v. Bush team and main drafter of the Report on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, co-published by the Center for Constitutional Rights. In 2005, She received the firm’s pro bono award.

Later at Baach Robinson & Lewis, she worked on the appeal in Rasul v. Rumsfeld, the first damages action brought on behalf of released detainees, and on the first habeas corpus petitions brought on behalf of detainees in Bagram Air Force Base, Afghanistan.  From 2008 to 2015, she was an Assistant Professor at the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University, where she specialized in international human rights and public international law.

From 2012 to 2013, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Rutgers Law School. Her monograph "People Power and International Human Rights:  Creating a Legal Framework" was recently published by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict and is available here. From January to May 2017, she was a Democratic Fellow at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the U.S. House of Representatives, working under the Democratic co-chair Rep. James McGovern (D-MA).

In both 2015 and 2016, her work was selected in a double-blind peer review process for inclusion in the American Society of International Law's Fall Research Forum.  In 2015, she presented "What are We Writing About When We Write About the History of Human Rights, or Who’s Afraid of Samuel Moyn?" and in 2016, she presented "People Power Movements and International Human Rights." Professor Wilson has consulted with ABA-ROLI and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (NYU University Law School) and taught in the Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University.  

Elizabeth also holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory and was Assistant Professor in the English Department of Yale University.  She lived in the Czech Republic in during the early 1990's and had a DAAD to Humboldt University in the former East Berlin in 1997-1999.  She also has been a Fulbright Scholar at the Johan Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main. 


Book chapter

International Legal Basis of Support for Nonviolent Activists and Movements, in Is Authoritarianism Staging a Comeback? (The Atlantic Council, 2015)


"People Power" and the Problem of Sovereignty in International Law in Proceedings of Conference on Foreign Official Immunity, Duke L.  J. of Comp. & Int’l L. (forthcoming)

“National Laws Restricting Foreign Funding of Human Rights Civil Society Organizations:  A Legal Analysis,” forthcoming in a special issue on Funding Effective Human Rights Work for the Journal of Human Rights Practice (peer-reviewed) (revised and expanded version of Atlantic Council article). 

“Beyond the Rack:  Post-Enlightenment Torture,” 39 New England Journal on
Criminal & Civil Confinement 41

“Damages or Nothing”:  The Post-Boumediene Constitution and Compensation for Human Rights Violations After 9/11, 41 Seton Hall Law Review 1491(2011).

“Is There a Case for Congress?” (Review article of Benjamin Wittes, *Legislating the War on Terrorism*, and Victor Hansen & Laurence Friedman, The Case for Congress) 45 New England Law Review 625 (2011).

“Is Torture All In a Day’s Work?  Scope of Employment, the Absolute Immunity Doctrine, and Civil Torture Litigation Against U.S. Officials,” 6 Rutgers Journal of Law & Public Policy 175 (2008).

“The War on Terrorism and The Water’s Edge”:  Sovereignty, Territorial Jurisdiction,” and the Reach of the U.S. Constitution in the Guantánamo Detainee Litigation*, 8 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 165 (March 2006) (cited in Al Odah and Abdah Petitioners’ Brief, No. 06-1196, Boumediene v. Bush (2007) (Fall Term).


People Power and International Human Rights Law (commissioned by the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict) (forthcoming 2016).

Selected Commentary, “A Rejoinder to Samuel Moyn,” June 13, 2013,The European Court of Human Rights on Diplomatic Assurances,” Jan. 23, 2012,Lebron v. Rumsfeld: The Fourth Circuit Drops an Anvil on Bivens,” Jan. 28, 2012