Professor Joel R. Paul teaches and writes about constitutional law, international business and trade, and foreign relations and national security law.
Professor Paul has taught on the law faculties at U.C. Berkeley, Yale, Leiden, University of Connecticut, and American University.
Professor Paul has lectured or published in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. His most recent book is "Unlikely Allies: How a Merchant, a Playwright, and a Spy Saved the American Revolution." His forthcoming book due out next year with Penguin Random House is "Without Precedent: How John Marshall Invented American Diplomacy." In his spare time Professor Paul writes stage plays and screenplays.
As the former Associate Academic Dean for Global Programs, he initiated the law school’s 18 global exchange programs and joint degrees, LL.M. program, summer program, and foreign visiting scholars program.
Professor Paul attended Amherst College, B.A. History, Economics and Political Science; the London School of Economics and Political Science; and Harvard Law School, J.D.; Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, MALD in international law and economic development.
Paul was the first openly gay man hired on a U.S. law faculty. He has drafted federal trade legislation, advised the Clinton presidential campaign on trade policy, challenged the military’s exclusion of gay service members and brought other first amendment cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, testified before Congress, managed political campaigns, and worked on affordable housing policies. In 1991 Professor Paul corroborated the testimony of Professor Anita Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings on the nomination of Clarence Thomas.
Courses Taught: Constitutional Law I and II, International Business Transactions, International Trade Law and Policy, Seminar on Global Inequalities, National Security and Foreign Relations Law, and Public International Law.
Areas of Expertise (7)
International Economic Law and Policy
Presidential Powers in Foreign Affairs
International Business Transactions
National Security Law
Foreign Relations Law
Public International Law
Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy: MALD, International Law and Economic Development
Harvard Law School: J.D., Law
The London School of Economics and Political Science: M.A., Economics and Political Science
Amherst College: B.A., History, Economics, and Political Science
Media Appearances (4)
UC Santa Cruz professor to lecture on global trade
Santa Cruz Sentinel online
A UC Santa Cruz professor who advised the Bill Clinton presidential campaign on trade policy will give a lecture Thursday as part of the UC Hastings Social Justice Speakers Series on important topics concerning social justice. Professor Joel Paul’s talk “Trading Up: How to Make Globalization Work for People” is set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Media Theater at Performing Arts Room M110 at UCSC...
Hobby Lobby Decision Has Limited Impact in California
“The Court decided not to rely on the First Amendment claim, but instead to rely on the statutory claim,” says Joel Paul, law professor at U.C. Hastings College of the Law. “That means the decision only applies to federal laws. If a state, like California, requires employers to provide contraceptive coverage, that law survives this decision.”...
The Obamacare contraception mandate and Hobby Lobby: Religious freedom in the balance?
Communities Digital News online
Joel Paul, a professor at the UC-Hastings College of Law, wrote this month in the Huffington Post, “The media misses the real point. Regardless of how the Court decides, women will still have access to contraception, and Obamacare will survive. But a decision in favor of Hobby Lobby would undermine both corporate law and the separation of church and state.”...
Fears Rise Over S.F. Circumcision Bill
The Jewish Week online
“This proposition would let the majority decide religious practice for a religious group,” Joel Paul, professor of constitutional law at the University of California Hastings School of Law told JTA. “It’s not part of our politics. No one should have to go into an election and be asked to defend their religion.”...
Selected Articles (5)
Proponents of trade liberalization routinely defend international trade institutions as engines of economic growth that benefit everyone. How trade proponents justify trade institutions matters because their justificatory rhetoric leads to certain policy conclusions about whether it is appropriate to link trade to environmental, labor, or human rights policies. This paper examines the theory and operation of international trade law and institutions and questions whether these institutions in fact promote economic growth as proponents claim. Neither neo-liberal economic theory nor empirical studies support the claim that international trade institutions promote economic growth. To the contrary, international trade institutions are internally inconsistent and may distort economic efficiency and result in negative growth under some circumstances. To the extent that international trade institutions have promoted economic growth, they have often contributed to a growing disparity of wealth within and between the industrialized and developing countries. Trade institutions like the WTO have succeeded in coordinating policies and resolving conflict through dispute-settlement, even if they do not necessarily promote significant economic growth. For this reason, it is entirely consistent with their policy-coordination function for these institutions to promote labor, human rights, and environmental standards.
We often frame the debate over global governance as a conflict between some set of international legal norms, like free trade or human rights, something we posit as national "culture." State actors and legal scholars assert cultural claims as a justification for derogating from some international legal requirement. For example, European states seek exemption from some international trade agreements prohibiting barriers to imported films of music by arguing that the imports threaten their cultural identity or industries. Japan, Norway and some indigenous nations claim a cultural right to whale that supersedes the international moratorium on whale hunting. Some theocratic or developing states claim cultural exceptions to engage in practices that otherwise contravene the international human rights of women and sexual minorities. In general, the international community does not regard practices that implicate commercial trade or environmental resources as authentically cultural. By contrast, the international community implicitly, if not always explicitly, acknowledges that gender norms are authentically cultural and therefore are entitled to great deference by international law. How and why doe we posit some social behavior as authentically cultural and when does culture trump international legal norms? This article explores how state actors and legal scholars make cultural claims in different legal contexts and suggests a linkage between the deployment of cultural exceptions and the project of globalization.
We usually view international law as a set of legal norms generated by sovereign states. According to the conventional story, until the Nuremberg tribunal, only states possessed rights and obligations under international laws, not individuals. In other words, states were the exclusive subjects of international law. After Nuremberg and the emergence of the U.N. International human rights treaties, the conventional story teaches that international law began to recognize individual rights. States, especially major powers like the United States, often resist the development of international legal obligations.
From the Founding through the Second World War well established understandings constrained executive power over foreign relations. Since the Cold War the executive has enlarged its foreign relations power. Courts and commentators justified and defended the growth of executive power in relation to two geopolitical phenomenon. First, the executive was better positioned to command the United States' wider global responsibilities. Second, the threat posed by Soviet expansionism and nuclear missile technology did not afford time for congressional deliberation. While scholars have debated whether the Cold War actually justified the extent of executive power, they have generally accepted as a self-evident proposition that the president's authority should expand in response to geopolitical circumstances. Professor Paul characterizes the proposition that presidential power expands relative to geopolitical exigencies as a "discourse of executive expediency." Paul traces the origin of this discourse to the domestic debates over the Bricker Amendment, McCarthysm and the War in Indochina and shows how courts used this justificatory rhetoric to construct a new method for interpreting the president's constitutional powers. Focusing particularly on the use of executive agreements, Paul argues that even in the absence of any external threat, courts willingly suspended critical judgments and embraced expediency discourse. In Paul's view, the expansion of the president's foreign relations power obstructed public accountability, facilitated interventionism, and corrupted the policy-making process. Paul challenges the continued reliance on Cold War discourse and offers an alternative approach to adjudicating questions on the reach of executive foreign relations power.
International trade and investment profoundly shape the modern world. The impact of global telecommunications and travel, international capital markets, dependence on foreign markets, loss of jobs to low-wage countries and the escalating damage to our environment transform our social, economic and political lives. Multinational corporations and parastatal enterprises challenge the distinctions of public an private transactions. Economic integration in Europe, Latin America, and North America creates possibilities for new political relationships among states. Our ability to compete in the global market is a current political issue of great interest. Yet, as economic integration transforms social, economic and political experiences, it does not touch the legal categories we employ to describe international law.