Robert Mikos

Professor of Law
Director, Program in Law and Government

Rob Mikos specializes in federalism and criminal law issues. His most recent scholarship analyzes the power struggles between the state and federal governments and their implications for law and public policy, addressing issues ranging from marijuana legalization to immigration reform. He has also written on the political safeguards of federalism, accuracy in criminal sanctions, the economics of private precautions against crime, and remedies in private law. Professor Mikos earned his J.D. summa cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, where he served as articles editor on the Michigan Law Review and won numerous awards, including the Henry M. Bates Memorial Scholarship. After graduation, he clerked for Chief Judge Michael Boudin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Professor Mikos has taught at the University of California at Davis, where he was twice nominated for the school’s Distinguished Teaching Award, as well as at Notre Dame and the University of Michigan. He teaches courses in Federalism, Constitutional Law, Federal Criminal Law, and Drug Law and Policy.

Research Interests

Federalism, constitutional law, drug law and policy, federal criminal law

Representative Publications

  • "Preemption Under the Controlled Substances Act," Journal of Health Care Law & Policy (forthcoming 2013) (symposium contribution)
    Full Text | SSRN
  • “Can States Keep Secrets from the Federal Government?” 161 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 103 (2012-13)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "On the Limits of Supremacy: When States Relax (or Abandon) Marijuana Bans," Cato Policy Analysis, Nov. 2012
    Full Text | SSRN
  • "A Critical Appraisal of the Department Of Justice’s New Approach to Medical Marijuana," 22 Stanford Law & Policy Review 633 (2011) (commissioned Features Article)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "State Taxation of Marijuana Distribution and Other Federal Crimes,” 2010 University of Chicago Legal Forum 223 (selected for symposium on Crime, Criminal Law, and the Recession, University of Chicago)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States' Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime," 62 Vanderbilt Law Review 1421 (2009)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • "The Populist Safeguards of Federalism," 68 Ohio State Law Journal 1669 (2007)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • “Do Citizens Care about Federalism: An Experimental Test,” 4 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 589 (2007) (with Cindy D. Kam)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • “’Eggshell Victims’, Private Precautions, and the Societal Benefits of Shifting Crime,” 105 Michigan Law Review 307 (2006)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN
  • “Enforcing State Law in Congress’s Shadow,” 90 Cornell Law Review 1411 (2005)
    Full Text | SSRN | HEIN

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Contact Information

(615) 343-7184 (voice)
(615) 322-6631 (fax)
Room 293-A (office)

Curriculum Vitae



J.D. University of Michigan Law School
A.B. Princeton University