Vijay Padmanabhan joins Vanderbilt’s law faculty as assistant professor

Jun 16, 2011

Vijay M. Padmanabhan has joined Vanderbilt Law School’s faculty as an assistant professor. Professor Padmanabhan, whose teaching and scholarship addresses international law, national security law, international human rights law, and international criminal law, previously taught at Cardozo School of Law.

Before entering the legal academy, Professor Padmanabhan served in the Office of the Legal Adviser for the U.S. Department of State, based in Washington, D.C., from 2003-08. He was an attorney-adviser for political and military affairs, serving as the State Department’s chief counsel on Guantanamo and Iraq detainee litigation, and advising the department on law of war, human rights and public diplomacy questions. He also was an attorney-adviser for international claims and investment disputes from 2003-06, during which time he worked on litigation at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal and on Holocaust restitution claims. He received the office’s Superior Honor Award in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Professor Padmanabhan earned his B.S. in Business Administration summa cum laude from Georgetown in 1999, graduating first in his class, having majored in international business and minored in English and economics. He received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence, the Daimler Chrysler Award for International Business Research, and studied abroad at the London School of Economics. He attended New York University School of Law as a Dean’s Scholar and graduated magna cum laude and Order of the Coif in 2002, having served as an associate editor of the NYU Law Review. He clerked for Judge James L. Dennis on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit before joining the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser.

Professor Padmanabhan’s publications include “To Transfer or Not to Transfer: Identifying and Protecting Human Rights Interests in Non-Refoulement” (80 Fordham Law Review, forthcoming October 2011); “Four Challenges to the Geneva Conventions and Other Existing Law Posted by Detention Operations in Contemporary Conflicts” (105 American Journal of International Law, 2011, with John B. Bellinger III), “Norm Internalization through Trials for Violations of International Law: Four Conditions for Success and Their Application to Trials of Detainees at Guantanamo Bay (31 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law, 2010), "From Rome to Kampala: The U.S. Approach to the 2010 International Criminal Court Review Conference," Council on Foreign Relations Special Report No. 55, and his Note, “Democracy’s Building Blocks: South Africa’s Electoral Commission” (77 NYU Law Review, 2002).

Professor Padmanabhan regularly appears on radio and television programs discussing law of war and human rights questions. He was one of four panelists who participated in a web seminar sponsored by Harvard’s Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research Center, “Beyond the Attack on Bin Laden: Implications for Regulating Future Military Operations,” on June 15. He is a regular commentator on the WNYC public radio program “The Takeaway.”

He was also featured in a 2008 Newsweek interview, “Life After GITMO."

“I am excited to join the vibrant community of faculty and students at Vanderbilt,” Professor Padmanabhan said. “I look forward to continuing my research on how international law must change to accommodate the proliferation of conflicts with non-state actors, as well as to contributing to the International Legal Studies program.”

“I am particularly delighted that Vijay is joining our faculty,” said Ingrid Wuerth, professor of law, who directs Vanderbilt’s International Legal Studies Program. “He brings a wealth of experience in international law, national security and human rights from his work with the State Department and in the legal academy.”

At Vanderbilt, Professor Padmanabhan will be affiliated with Vanderbilt’s International Legal Studies and Criminal Justice programs and teaches International Law, Human Rights Law and National Security Law.

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