Professor Ku teaches international, constitutional, and corporate law subjects. His main research interest is the intersection of international and domestic law. He has published articles on the constitutional aspects of foreign relations in the Yale Law Journal, the Supreme Court Review and Constitutional Commentary. He also is a co-founder of the international law weblog Opinio Juris and a contributing editor to Lawfareblog.com.
Before joining the Hofstra faculty in 2002, Professor Ku served as a law clerk to Judge Jerry Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and as an Olin Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Virginia Law School. Professor Ku also practiced as an associate at the New York City law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, specializing in litigation and arbitration arising out of international disputes. "Professor Ku has also been a visiting professor at the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe School of Law in Williamsburg, Virginia, a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer in Law at East China University of Politics and Law in Shanghai, and the National Taiwan University College of Law in Taipei.
Industry Expertise (1)
Areas of Expertise (5)
Yale University: J.D. 1998
Yale University: B.A. 1994
- American Law Institute
- U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, New York State Advisory Committee Member (2016)
- Mandarin Chinese
Media Appearances (11)
President Trump formally recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital
President Donald Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday marking the official U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, calling his a “new approach” to resolving the generations of strife between Israel and the Palestinians...
Julian Ku, a professor at Hofstra University’s Maurice A. Deane School of Law, said Trump’s speech did not include language that dismissed dividing Israel in the future.
“We are definitely taking Israel’s side, but we may not be going to the maximalist position,” Ku said. “The headline is: We recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” he said. “The detail is: Where is the border of Jerusalem?”
Trump’s Recognition Of Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital Draws Mixed Reaction From New Yorkers
CBS 2 NY tv
Donald Trump’s announcement Wednesday that the U.S. is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is drawing mixed reaction from New Yorkers.
...Legally speaking, Professor Julian Ku from Hofstra’s School of Law says the president is on firm ground.
“It’s a reasonable decision to support Israel because it’s not just the president, the vast majority of Congress have repeatedly pushed the president to do this over the years,” [Ku] said.
Op-ed: Trump’s Syria strike clearly broke international law — and no one seems to care
President Donald Trump’s surprising decision to launch a cruise missile strike on Syria was sharply criticized by Russia as a “flagrant violation of international law.” While it might be tempting to dismiss this claim as mere Putinesque propaganda, on this question at least, Russia is almost certainly correct. In the view of most international lawyers, the US strike on Syria is a crystal-clear violation of the UN Charter. So why doesn’t anybody, except Russia and some international lawyers, seem to care?
The uncomfortable answer seems to be that, at least with respect to this question — can a state use military force against a regime that uses banned weaponry against citizens? — international law simply doesn’t matter very much. And this suits the United States and the Trump administration just fine.
China to Prosecute Taiwanese in Fraud Case Despite Acquittals in Kenya
New York TImes print
The Chinese government announced on Wednesday that a group of Taiwanese citizens who were deported to China from Kenya would be prosecuted on charges of telecommunications fraud despite having been acquitted of the same charges by a Kenyan court this month.
The move escalated a diplomatic battle that has outraged Taiwan, which sees the deportation of its citizens to China as an extrajudicial abduction. The case has also raised international legal questions and involved Kenya in the geopolitical maneuvering between China and Taiwan.
Deporting suspects to third countries is not illegal under international law, said Julian Ku, a professor of international law at Hofstra University.
China also has the right under international law to prosecute people suspected of committing crimes directed at Chinese territory, Mr. Ku said. “China makes a lot of bad arguments, but this one is pretty good,” he said.
Op-Ed: Trump might be stuck with NAFTA
Los Angeles Times print
After attacking the North American Free Trade Agreement repeatedly during his campaign, Donald Trump notably failed to include NAFTA on his agenda for his first day in the Oval Office. Perhaps he has learned that the Constitution prevents the president from terminating our trade agreements by himself...
U.S. ‘hypocrisy’ and Chinese cash strengthen Beijing’s hand in South China Sea
Washington Post print
The list of countries backing Beijing’s stance in the South China Sea just keeps growing — China’s Foreign Ministry boasted last week that nearly 60 had swung behind the country’s rejection of international arbitration in a case brought by the Philippines.
Yet China’s frantic efforts to rally support ahead of a ruling from an international tribunal in The Hague may not be as meaningless as they might seem.
The Philippines took China to court in 2013 after the Chinese navy seized control of Scarborough Shoal, set amid rich fishing grounds off the main Philippine island of Luzon. Among other things, it wants the court to rule on whether China’s “nine-dash line” — under which it claims most of the South China Sea — is consistent with international law.
China vehemently rejects arbitration and says it will ignore the court’s rulings. It argues that the Philippines had previously agreed to settle the dispute bilaterally and that the court has no jurisdiction over issues of territorial sovereignty.
Julian Ku, a professor of constitutional law at Hofstra University, says Beijing has “a very weak” case. The court, he points out, has already spent a year considering the question of jurisdiction and ruled that it does have the authority to consider many of the issues raised by the Philippines.
“While I have expressed strong criticism of the Philippines’ use of arbitration (and the U.S. role in supporting it) from a strategic perspective, I don’t have any such criticism of their legal arguments,” Ku wrote in a blog post. “China’s claim that it can legally ignore the pending arbitral award is not only wrong, it is legally insupportable.”
Can the UN Change the Church's Views on Abortion and Gay Rights?
So, if a UN committee finds Church teachings to violate the human rights of children, what can it do to the Holy See? The short answer: nothing.
“There’s no legal obligation under the treaty to follow the recommendations of the committee,” said Julian Ku, a professor at Hofstra University’s School of Law. “The committee itself is formed by the treaty … and it’s just housed at the UN.”
Amanda Knox verdict: Could she be extradited back to Italy?
CBS News This Morning tv
Less than 24 hours after Amanda Knox was convicted again for the murder of her roommate in Italy, Knox's ex-boyfriend was picked up by police.
For Knox, a new battle begins: the fight against extradition from the U.S.
Could Knox be sent back to Italy? Julian Ku, a Hofstra law professor, says the U.S. isn't necessarily a safe haven for Amanda. "This is a case where extradition would be appropriate because she's already been convicted," Ku said.
What is Terrorism?
Fox 5 News-NY tv
Speaking on Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio held off on calling the bombing in Chelsea that hurt 29 people "terrorism." But with suspect Ahmad Khan Rahman in custody on Monday, de Blasio said: "We have every reason to believe this was an act of terror."
Julian Ku, professor of Constitutional Law at Hofstra Law School, said if it was something done intentionally, it is safe to say terror. He said the question is what kind of terrorism? Domestic, international, Islamic? Ku said the goal of a terrorist is to scare and disrupt society. That motivation is always the same.
Ku said that what makes terrorism different legally is that the terrorist hopes to accomplish a political goal. It can be international foreign policy or domestic.
Julian Ku and George Conway: When Corporate Defendants Go on Offense
Wall Street Journal print
In defending against an $18 billion judgment levied by Ecuadorean courts, oil giant Chevron has played more offense than defense. It has sued the plaintiffs' U.S. and Ecuadorean attorneys, and several of the plaintiffs' expert witnesses.
Chinese families seek wartime compensation
The Timaru Herald
Japan insists that the issue of war reparations was settled by the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, which formally ended the war, and by later bilateral treaties. Japan's Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that Chinese individuals have lost their right to claim war compensation from Japan and its companies under the 1972 Japan-China joint communiqué.
"I think the lawsuits have the potential to be very significant if the Chinese courts allow them to go forward," said Julian Ku, a law professor from Hofstra University in New York, who has written about the forced labour lawsuits in China.
"They would signal that Chinese courts will not read the 1972 China-Japan Communiqué and subsequent peace treaty as a settlement of all wartime claims," he said in emailed comments. "Of course, if the Chinese courts allow these cases to forward, it would be a serious irritant to China-Japan relations."
China is on the cusp of its fourth decade as a party to the New York Convention for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. At the time of China’s accession in 1987, the highest levels of the Chinese government supported entry and implementation of the New York Convention, which creates strict international standards requiring
member states to enforce most private commercial arbitration awards. In the intervening three decades, numerous studies have been conducted to assess whether Chinese courts enforce foreign arbitral awards consistent with the requirements of the New York Convention.
There is much to admire in Michael Stokes Paulsen’s elegant and bold polemic on the Constitution and international law. Paulsen deserves substantial praise both for offering a clear and accessible theory of the Constitution and international law, and for then bravely taking that theory to its logical though controversial conclusions. He rightly emphasizes that the Constitution is supreme over international law and that the political branches, Congress, and the President, have an independent and dominant role in the interpretation of international law’s effect on the United States. He also properly criticizes those who have used their interpretations of international law to support highly politicized attacks on the Bush Administration’s war on terrorism policies.
In a variety of circumstances, state governors exercise independent decision-making power over matters affecting the foreign policy of the United States. This Essay describes and defends this emerging system of gubernatorial foreign policy on both legal and functional grounds. Recent Supreme Court decisions retreating from federal exclusivity in foreign affairs and prohibiting the commandeering of state executive officials leave a small doctrinal space for governors to act independently on matters affecting foreign policy.