Faculty co-director, Human Rights Institute;
Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights
Professor Sarah Cleveland is a noted expert in international human and labor rights, the constitutional law of U.S. foreign relations, international law in domestic law and the interface between human rights and international trade. From 2009-2011, she served as the counselor on international law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, where she supervised the office’s legal work relating to the law of war, counterterrorism, and Afghanistan and Pakistan, and assisted with its international human rights and international justice work. Cleveland has testified before Congress on the relevance of international law in constitutional interpretation and has been involved in human rights litigation in U.S. courts and before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. As an expert on the Afghanistan Transitional Commercial Law Project Working Group, she helped draft a labor code for post-Taliban Afghanistan in 2003.
Cleveland serves on the legal advisory boards of a number of human rights organizations and on the board of editors of the Journal of International Economic Law. Her writings include Our International Constitution (Yale J. Int’l L., 2006); Powers Inherent in Sovereignty: Indians, Aliens, Territories and the Nineteenth Century Origins of Plenary Power Over Foreign Affairs (Texas L. Rev., 2002); Human Rights Sanctions and International Trade: A Theory of Compatibility (J. Int’l Econ. L., 2002); and Norm Internalization and Economic Sanctions (Yale J. Int’l L., Winter 2001). She is a co-author of Louis Henkin’s Human Rights casebook (2nd ed., forthcoming 2009).
A former Rhodes Scholar, Cleveland holds a baccalaureate degree from Brown University, a master’s degree from Oxford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun and for Judge Louis Oberdorfer on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Prior to entering law teaching, she worked as a Skadden Fellow with Florida Legal Services, where she conducted impact litigation on behalf of migrant farm workers. Formerly the Marrs McLean Professor in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, where she received the Excellence in Teaching Award, Cleveland has also taught at the Michigan and Harvard law schools and at Oxford University. She joined Columbia Law School in 2007.