Professor of Law
B.A., Amherst College; M.A., Harvard University; J.D., Yale University
- Social Science Research Network Home Page
- Curriculum Vitae: CV in PDF format
- Area(s) of Expertise: Constitutional Law, Eminent Domain, Federalism, Political Participation/Political Knowledge, Property Rights
ILYA SOMIN is Professor of Law at George Mason University. His research focuses on constitutional law, property law, and the study of popular political participation and its implications for constitutional democracy. He is the author of Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter (Stanford University Press, revised and expanded second edition, 2016), and The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain (University of Chicago Press, 2015, rev. paperback ed., 2016), coauthor of A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and co-editor of Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective(Cambridge University Press, 2017). Democracy and Political Ignorance has been translated into Italian and Japanese.
Somin’s work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals, including the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Northwestern University Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Critical Review, and others. Somin has also published articles in a variety of popular press outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the New York Times Room for Debate website, CNN, USA Today, Newark Star Ledger, Orlando Sentinel, South China Morning Post, Legal Times, National Law Journal and Reason. He has been quoted or interviewed by the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, The Economist, the Christian Science Monitor, CBS, MSNBC, NPR, BBC, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Al Jazeera and the Voice of America, among other media. He has testified on the use of drones for targeted killing in the War on Terror before the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights. In 2009, he testified on property rights issues at the United States Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Somin writes regularly for the popular Volokh Conspiracy law and politics blog, affiliated with the Washington Post. From 2006 to 2013, he served as Co-Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review, one of the country’s top-rated law and economics journals.
In 2008, Somin served as a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has also been a visiting professor at the University of Hamburg, Germany, the University of Torcuato Di Tella in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Zhengzhou University in China. Before joining the faculty at George Mason, Somin was the John M. Olin Fellow in Law at Northwestern University Law School in 2002-2003. In 2001-2002, he clerked for the Hon. Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Professor Somin earned his B.A.,Summa Cum Laude, at Amherst College, M.A. in Political Science from Harvard University, and J.D. from Yale Law School.