About the Expert

Expert Bio

Catherine Powell is an adjunct senior fellow in the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations and a professor at Fordham Law School, where she teaches international law, human rights, constitutional law, and comparative constitutional law. Her prior experience includes stints in Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's policy planning office and in the White House National Security Council as director for human rights in the Obama administration. Earlier, Powell was founding director of both the Human Rights Institute and the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, where she was on the faculty as a clinical professor. In addition to formerly serving on the Human Rights Watch board, she has been a consultant on national security and human rights matters for the Center for American Progress and the American Constitution Society as well as a visiting professor at Georgetown University School of Law (2012-2013) and Columbia Law School (spring 2007 and fall 2016).

She is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, where she was a senior editor on the Yale Law Journal, and obtained a master’s degree in public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. After her graduate work, she was a post-graduate Ford Fellow in Teaching International Law at Harvard Law School and then clerked for Judge Leonard B. Sand on the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York. Powell is also on the American Journal of International Law board of editors.

Her recent publications include a blog, “The United Divided States: San Francisco Sues Donald Trump for Sanctuary Cities Order” in Just Security (2017); an opinion piece, “How Women Could Save the World,” in the That's Debatable section of the Nation (2017); and a law review article, “How Women Could Save the World, If Only We Would Let Them: From Gender Essentialism to Inclusive Security,” 28 Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 271 (2017). Other recent writings include “Reflections on Zivotofsky v. Kerry: Presidential Signing Statements and Dialogic Constitutionalism,” American Journal of International Law Unbound (2015); “Gender Indicators as Global Governance: Not Your Father's World Bank,” chapter in Big Data, Big Challenges in Evidenced-Based Policy Making (Kumar Jayasuriya ed., 2015) (West Academic Press, Publisher), reprinted in 17 Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law 777 (2016) (with updated 2016 data); “Libya: A Multilateral Constitutional Moment?American Journal of International Law (2012); and “A Missed Opportunity to Lead by Example,New York Times, Room for Debate on Have Treaties Gone Out of Style? (2012). She is currently writing on gender, national security, and immigration.


American Journal of International Law, board of editors
American Society of International Law, member of executive council
Fordham Law School, professor of law  

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