Brad Roth

Brad Roth

Professor of Law

Room 3371 (Law), 2055 FAB (Political Science)

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(313) 993-6983

Curriculum Vitae

Political Science Department and Law School

Brad Roth


Professor Roth holds a joint appointment with the Department of Political Science. He specializes in international law, comparative public law, and political and legal theory. His courses include International Law, International Protection of Human Rights, International Prosecution of State Actors, U.S. Foreign Relations Law,  and Political Theory of Public Law.  Before entering academia, he practiced law and served as law clerk to the chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.  He is the author of Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement (Oxford University Press, 2011), Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law (Oxford University Press, 1999), contributing co-editor (with Gregory H. Fox) of Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000), and author of roughly 30 book chapters, journal articles and commentaries dealing with questions of sovereignty, constitutionalism, human rights and democracy.

Brad Roth on SSRN

Degrees and Certifications

LL.M., Columbia University School of Law
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley
J.D., Harvard Law School
B.A., Swarthmore College

Courses Taught

International Law
International Human Rights
International Prosecution of State Actors
Law, Authority, and Resistance
Political Theory of Public Law
U.S. Foreign Relations Law

Selected Publications

"Supreme Law of the Land? Debating the Contemporary Effects of Treaties within the United States," (Cambridge University Press 2017) (with Professors Paul Dubinsky and Gregory Fox)

"The Virtues of Bright Lines: Self-Determination, Secession and External Intervention," German Law Journal 16 (2015), 384-415 (Special Issue on the Crisis in Ukraine).

"Ne-konsensualna disolucija dr avau meðunarodnom pravu: Inovacija Badinterove komisije u retrospektivi" ("Non-Consensual State Dissolution in International Law: The Badinter Innovation in Retrospect"), Politicka Misao (Croatian Political Science Review) 52:1 (2015), 48-78.

"A Bolivarian Alternative? The New Latin American Populism Confronts the Global Order" (with Sharon F. Lean), in International Law and its Discontents: Confronting Crises, ed. Barbara Stark (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

"Reconceptualizing Recognition of States and Governments," in Recognition in International Relations: Rethinking a Political Concept in a Global Context, eds. Christopher Daase, Caroline Fehl, Anna Geis, Georgios Kolliarakis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

"Whither Democratic Legitimism? Contextualizing Recent Developments in the Recognition and Non-Recognition of Governments," AJIL Unbound (Blog of the American Journal of International Law), Jan. 21, 2015.

"International Law's Enemy Within: Buchan's 'International Community' as Rival to the Positive Legal Order," EJIL: Talk! (Blog of the European Journal of International Law), Nov. 17, 2014

Just Outcomes, Overreaching Rationales: How International Criminal Law's Achievements Augur Flawed Responses to Political Violence, 31 Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law 55 (Spring 2014).

Sovereign Equality and Non-Liberal Regimes, 43 Netherlands Yearbook of International Law 25 (2012).

Parsing "Mutual Non-Recognition and Mutual Non-Denial": An International Law Perspective on Taipei"s Current Framework for Cross-Strait Relations, Chinese (Taiwan) Yearbook of International Law & Affairs 30:15 (2012).

Secessions, Coups, and the International Rule of Law: Assessing the Decline of the Effective Control Doctrine, Melbourne Journal of International Law 11:393-440 (2010).

Coming to Terms with Ruthlessness: Sovereign Equality, Global Pluralism, and the Limits of International Criminal Justice, Santa Clara Journal of International Law 8:231-88 (2010).

The Entity That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Unrecognized Taiwan as a Right-Bearer in the International Legal Order, East Asia Law Review (University of Pennsylvania Law School) 4:91-124 (2009).

- Published in Chinese translation, Taiwan Law Review (Taipei: Angle Publishing), (No. 158) 2008.7:84-103.

Republications of 2004 Leiden Journal of International Law article, Retrieving Marx for the Human Rights Project:

- Revised version: "Marxian Insights on the Human Rights Project," in Susan Marks, ed., International Law on the Left: Revisiting Marxist Legacies (Cambridge University Press, 2008), pp. 220-51.

- Original version, in Susan Easton, ed., Marx and Law (Philosophers and Law Series), (London: Ashgate Pub. Ltd.,2008), pp. 265-302.

"State Sovereignty, International Legality, and Moral Disagreement," in Tomer Broude & Yuval Shany, eds., The Shifting Allocation of Authority in International Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing Co., 2008), pp. 123-61.

Just Short of Torture: Abusive Treatment and the Limits of International Criminal Justice, Journal of International Criminal Justice (Oxford University Press) 6:215-39 (2008).

"Coercion and the Quest for Substantive Freedom," in Mary Garrett, Heidi Gottfried, & Sandra F. VanBurkleo, eds, Remapping the Humanities: Identity, Community, Memory, (Post)Modernity (Wayne State University Press, 2008), pp. 237-54.

"Taiwan"s Nation-Building and Beijing"s Anti-Secession Law: An International Law Perspective," in Chen Chi-sen et al., ed., Sovereignty, Constitution, and the Future of Taiwan (Taiwan Law Society, 2006), pp. 1-59.

The Enduring Significance of State Sovereignty, Florida Law Review 56:1017-50 (2004).

Retrospective Justice or Retroactive Standards? Human Rights as a Sword in the East German Leaders Case, Wayne Law Review 50:37-68 (2004).

Retrieving Marx for the Human Rights Project, Leiden Journal of International Law 17:31-66 (2004).

"What"s Left? Socialist Political Thought After the Fall," in Thomas Newlin & Sibelan Forrester, eds., Towards a Classless Society: Literature, History, and Politics: A Festschrift for Thompson Bradley (Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica (Indiana University) Press, 2004), pp. 195-211.

International Decisions: Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain; United States v. Alvarez-Machain, American Journal of International Law 98:798-804 (2004).

Anti-Sovereigntism, Liberal Messianism, and Excesses in the Drive against Impunity, Finnish Yearbook of International Law 12:17-45 (2001 volume, published 2003).

"Bending the Law, Breaking It, or Developing It? The United States and the Humanitarian Use of Force in the Post-Cold War Era," in Michael Byers & Georg Nolte, eds., United States Hegemony and the Foundations of the International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 232-63.

The CEDAW as a Collective Approach to Women"s Rights, Michigan Journal of International Law 24:187-225 (2002).

Understanding the "Understanding": Federalism Constraints on Human Rights Implementation, Wayne Law Review 47:891-907 (2002).

(with Gregory H. Fox) Democracy and International Law, Review of International Studies 27:327-352 (2001).

Peaceful Transition and Retrospective Justice: Some Reservations - A Response to Juan Mendez, Ethics & International Affairs 15:45-50 (2001).

"The Illegality of "Pro-Democratic" Invasion Pacts," in Gregory H. Fox and Brad R. Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 328-42.

Governmental Illegitimacy and Neo-Colonialism: Response to Review by James Thuo Gathii, Michigan Law Review 98:2056-65 (2000).

(with Gregory H. Fox) "Introduction: The Spread of Liberal Democracy and Its Implications for International Law," in Gregory H. Fox and Brad R. Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press, 2000), pp. 1-22.

Democratic Intolerance: Observations on Fox and Nolte, Harvard International Law Journal, 37:235-38 (1996), reprinted in Gregory H. Fox & Brad R. Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law, (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law (Oxford University Press, 1999). Winner, 1999 American Society of International Law Certificate of Merit ("Best Work in a Specialized Area")

"What Ever Happened to Sovereignty? Reflections on International Law Methodology," in Charlotte Ku & Thomas G. Weiss, eds., Understanding Global Governance (Academic Council on the United Nations System, 1998), pp. 69-100.

Evaluating Democratic Progress: A Normative Theoretical Perspective, Ethics & International Affairs, 9:55-77 (1995), reprinted in Gregory H. Fox & Brad R. Roth, eds., Democratic Governance and International Law, (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Governmental Illegitimacy Revisited: "Pro-Democratic" Armed Intervention in the Post-Bipolar World, Transnational Law & Contemporary Problems, 3:481-513 (1993).

Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe: Alternatives to the Liberal Social Contract, Dickinson Journal of International Law, 11:283-324 (1993).

The First Amendment in the Foreign Affairs Realm: "Domesticating" the Restrictions on Citizen Participation
, Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review, 2:255-91 (1993).


  • Supreme Law of the Land? Debating the Contemporary Effects of Treaties within the United States Legal System

    Edited by Paul R. Dubinsky, Gregory H. Fox and Brad R. Roth

    How do treaties function in the American legal system? This book provides a comprehensive analysis of the current status of treaties in American law. Its ten chapters examine major areas of change in treaty law in recent decades, including treaty interpretation, federalism, self-execution, treaty implementing legislation, treaty form, and judicial barriers to treaty enforcement. The book also includes two in-depth case studies: one on the effectiveness of treaties in the regulation of armed conflict and one on the role of a resurgent federalism in complicating U.S. efforts to ratify and implement treaties in private international law. Each chapter asks whether the treaty rules of the 1987 Third Restatement of Foreign Relations Law accurately reflect today's judicial, executive and legislative practices. This volume is original and provocative, a useful desk companion for judges and practicing lawyers, and an engaging read for the general reader and graduate students.

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  • Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement (Oxford University Press) 2011

    According to Oxford University Press, "in Sovereign Equality and Moral Disagreement: Premises of a Pluralist International Legal Order, Professor Brad R. Roth provides readers with a working knowledge of the various applications of sovereign equality in international law, and defends the principle of sovereign equality as a morally sound response to disagreements in the international realm."

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  • Democratic Governance and International Law (Cambridge University Press) 2000 Editor

    From "This book considers how the post-Cold War democratic revolution has affected international law. Traditionally, international law said little about the way in which governments were chosen. In the 1990s, however, international law has been deployed to encourage transitions to democracy, and to justify the armed expulsion of military juntas that overthrow elected regimes. In this volume, leading international legal scholars assess this change in international law and ask whether a commitment to democracy is consistent with the structure and rules of the international legal system."

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  • Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law (Oxford University Press) 1999

    According to "This work seeks to specify the international law of collective non-recognition of governments, so as to enable legal evaluation of cases in which competing factions assert governmental authority. It subjects the recognition controversies of the United Nations era to a systematic examination, informed by theoretical and comparative perspectives on governmental legitimacy."

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  • Brad Roth

    organized and moderated a session of the WSU Humanities Center’s Brown Bag Series on “Lessons from the Break-Up of Yugoslavia,” on Nov. 28.

  • Brad Roth

    was a speaker at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s workshop “Recognition in the Context of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” on Nov. 5. He discussed non-recognition of the fruits of peremptory norm violations.

  • Brad Roth

    gave a joint lecture with WSU Near East Studies faculty member Saeed Khan, to the undergraduate Model United Nations group on “The Future of Foreign Policy in the Trump Era.”

  • Brad Roth

    gave a lecture on “International Law and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” to the Society of Active Retirees as part of the organization's Fall 2018 Class Series, in Farmington Hills.

  • Brad Roth

    presented his scholarly work on “Secessions, Coups, and the International Rule of Law” to a September 2018 meeting of the Wayne State University Academy of Scholars, into which he was recently inducted. 

  • Brad Roth

    attended the International Law Association Biennial Meeting in Sydney, Australia on behalf of the ILA's Committee on the Recognition and Non-Recognition of States and Governments. He summarized and defended the committee's draft final report and finalized the resolution reflecting the report's conclusions. Also at that meeting, Roth was a panelist on the operation of the concept of “general principles of law” in the context of international criminal justice. 

  • Brad Roth

    co-wrote “The Dual Lives of “The Emerging Right to Democratic Governance” with Greg Fox for the American Journal of International Law. The article was part of a symposium in AJIL Unbound marking the 25th anniversary of Thomas Franck’s landmark article “The Emerging Right to Democratic Governance.” In this article Roth and Fox analyze the strengths and shortcomings of an article that started an important scholarly movement and address one of the central criticisms of Franck's piece. Read the full article.

  • Brad Roth

    wrote “Unpacking the Relationship Between Sovereignty, Democracy, and Human Rights” for Human Rights Review. Read the full article.

  • Brad Roth

    was an organizer and instructor at “Divided Societies" at Inter-University Center in Dubrovnik, Croatia. He taught short courses on self-determination, secession and international law, and sponsored an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program for students to receive grants to travel abroad.

  • Brad Roth

    was a panelist at “Two Peoples, One Future: Realizing Self-Determination in Israel/Palestine,” held at Birmingham Temple in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Watch it here.

  • Brad Roth

    was a speaker at Lauterpacht Centre for International Law’s Conference on International Law and Peace Settlements held at the University of Cambridge. He discussed "Advancing Peaceful Settlement and Democratization: The Doubtful Usefulness of International Electoral Norms."

  • Brad Roth

    was a featured speaker at the University of Michigan’s Kappa Alpha Pi, professional pre-law fraternity, discussing careers in international law and legal academia.

  • Brad Roth

    presented "International Law and the Recognition of Governments" at the International Law Association American Branch Annual Meeting in New York.

  • Brad Roth

    presented "The Independence of Kosovo and Self-Determination in International Law" at the Provost's Global Forum on the Nation, the State, and the Global Redefinition of Self-Determination at the University of Iowa.

  • Brad Roth

    presented a two-hour lecture, ""State Sovereignty and International Law," at the Society of Active Retirees, Fall 2016 Class Series.

  • Brad Roth

    presented "Comparing U.S. and PRC Approaches to Self-Determination Questions" at the University of Pennsylvania, Center for the Study of Contemporary China 2016 Annual Conference: The U.S., China, and International Law.

  • Brad Roth

    is one of three American Branch representatives to the International Law Association's Committee on Recognition/Non-Recognition of States and Governments. He recently gave the commentary on the committee's report on Recognition of Governments at the association's 2016 Biennial Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. Roth authored one of the leading books on the subject - Governmental Illegitimacy in International Law (Oxford University Press, 1999), which won the 1999 Certificate of Merit from the American Society of International Law as "best work in a specialized area."

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