Jed Rubenfeld

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Jed Rubenfeld
Born (1959-02-15) February 15, 1959 (age 65)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
EducationPrinceton University (BA)
Juilliard School
Harvard University (JD)
SpouseAmy Chua

Jed L. Rubenfeld (born February 15, 1959) is an American legal scholar. He is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School.[1] He is an expert on constitutional law, privacy, and the First Amendment. He joined the Yale faculty in 1990 and was appointed to a full professorship in 1994. Rubenfeld has also served as a United States Representative at the Council of Europe[2] and has taught as a visiting professor at both the Stanford Law School and the Duke University School of Law.[3] He is also the author of two novels, including the million-copy bestseller, The Interpretation of Murder.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Rubenfeld was born and raised in Washington D.C. in a Jewish family.[5] His father was a psychotherapist and his mother was an art critic.[6] He graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with an A.B. in 1980. He also studied theater in the Drama Division of the Juilliard School between 1980 and 1982 and attended Harvard Law School from 1983 to 1986, graduating magna cum laude.[3][6][7]


Rubenfeld clerked for Judge Joseph T. Sneed on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in 1986–1987.[3] After his clerkship, he worked as an associate at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and as an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York.[3]

Rubenfeld is the author of numerous publications and books, including Freedom and Time: A Theory of Constitutional Self-Government, Revolution by Judiciary, and most recently The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, which he co-wrote with his wife, Amy Chua, best known for her 2011 book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.

His scholarship has focused on American Constitutional law with particular focus on the First Amendment, which he has articulated as codifying an “anti-orthodoxy principle.”[8] He has also written widely cited articles defending a constitutional right to abortion, same-sex marriage,[9] strong protections against surveillance,[10] and the legality of affirmative action.[11] Rubenfeld’s work has been praised by peers within the legal academy. Professor Akhil Amar has described him as “the most gifted constitutional theorist (not to mention the most elegant legal writer) of his generation,”[12] and the Law and Politics Book Review called Rubenfeld "a leading contemporary thinker in constitutional interpretation whose ideas will help shape this field for some time."[13]

More recently, Rubenfeld has become one of the country’s leading scholars on the First Amendment implications of social media censorship, arguing that government pressure combined with behind-the-scenes communications and concerted action can turn social media censorship into a First Amendment violation.[14][15][16][17] He has argued this theory in federal court, representing Children's Health Defense, a non-profit that publishes about supposed harms associated with vaccines, in a lawsuit against Facebook.[18][19] Rubenfeld has also recently questioned the legality of the Environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) practices of large asset managers, arguing that fiduciaries who prioritize social-impact investing may be violating their duty of loyalty.[20]


Misconduct allegations, suspension, and reinstatement[edit]

Beginning in the summer of 2018, Rubenfeld was investigated by Yale Law School for allegations of sexual misconduct and inappropriate conduct, particularly towards female students, with the investigation being conducted by Title IX investigator Jenn Davis.[26] The school promised a thorough investigation of any potential faculty misconduct, also looking into reported misconduct by his wife, Amy Chua.[27] Rubenfeld and Chua denied all allegations, and Yale found no cause against Chua.[27]

Rubenfeld responded to the investigation in a statement to The Guardian, writing, "For some years, I have contended with personal attacks and false allegations in reaction to my writing on difficult and controversial but important topics in the law. I have reason to suspect I am now facing more of the same. While I believe strongly that universities must conduct appropriate reviews of any allegations of misconduct, I am also deeply concerned about the intensifying challenges to the most basic values of due process and free, respectful academic expression and exchange at Yale and around the country. Nevertheless, I stand ready to engage with this process in the hope that it can be expeditiously concluded."[28] Rubenfeld has repeatedly denied the allegations against him, stating that he has “never sexually harassed anyone, whether verbally or otherwise.”[29]

In response to the investigation of Rubenfeld, the Yale Daily News quoted a former student saying "It was not a surprise to basically any woman in my class that this investigation is going on," that some students were afraid to speak out against Rubenfeld and his wife because of their reputation for securing prestigious clerkships for law students, and that "the idea of retaliation" when it came to getting prestigious clerkships was "very real."[30] In October 2020, some Yale Law students demanded that Rubenfeld be permanently removed from campus.[31]

Rubenfeld was on leave from August 2020 through May 2022.[32] He resumed teaching in Fall of 2022.[33] Rubenfeld declined to answer whether he was being paid by Yale during suspension.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Rubenfeld resides in New Haven, Connecticut, and is married to Yale Law School professor Amy Chua, author of the books World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The couple co-wrote The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America.[35]

Rubenfeld and Chua have two daughters,[36] the older of whom told The New Yorker in 2014, "my dad totally thrives on confrontation".[37]


  1. ^ "Jed Rubenfeld". Yale Law School. Retrieved 2023-11-10.
  2. ^ European Commission for Democracy through Law 69th Plenary Session Meeting Report
  3. ^ a b c d "Digital Collections" (PDF). Petra Christian University Library. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  4. ^ "Jed Rubenfeld – The Death Instinct « Crime and Publishing". Archived from the original on 2018-06-21. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
  5. ^ Weinstein, Jessica. "A Jewish-Asian love affair". The Jewish Chronicle. The JC Network. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  6. ^ a b Szalai, Jennifer (January 29, 2014). "Confessions of a Tiger Couple". The New York Times. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  7. ^ Austin, Sara L.; EdD. "Jed Rubenfeld | Academic Influence". Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  8. ^ Rubenfeld, Jed (2000–2001). "The First Amendment's Purpose". Stanford Law Review. 53 (4): 767–832. doi:10.2307/1229492. JSTOR 1229492.
  9. ^ Rubenfeld, Jed (1989). "The Right of Privacy". Harvard Law Review. 102 (4): 737–807. doi:10.2307/1341305. ISSN 0017-811X. JSTOR 1341305.
  10. ^ Review, Stanford Law (3 April 2010). "The End of Privacy". Stanford Law Review. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  11. ^ Alexander, Larry (1998). "Affirmative Action and Legislative Purpose: Jed Rubenfeld, "Affirmative Action", 107 Yale L.J. 427 (1997)". The Yale Law Journal. 107 (8): 2679–2684. doi:10.2307/797356. ISSN 0044-0094. JSTOR 797356.
  12. ^ "Revolution by Judiciary — Jed Rubenfeld". Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  13. ^ "Rubenfeld Jed 1959- |". Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  14. ^ "Are Facebook and Google State Actors?". Lawfare. 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  15. ^ "If Facebook and Google Are State Actors, What's Next for Content Moderation?". Lawfare. 2019-11-12. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  16. ^ Rubenfeld, Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed (11 January 2021). "Opinion | Save the Constitution From Big Tech". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  17. ^ Rubenfeld, Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed (17 August 2022). "Opinion | Twitter Becomes a Tool of Government Censorship". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  18. ^ "Lawsuit Claims Feds Directed Facebook to Censor Vaccine Misinformation". Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  19. ^ 21-16210 Children's Health Defense v. Meta Platforms, Inc., retrieved 2022-12-08
  20. ^ Barr, Jed Rubenfeld and William P. (6 September 2022). "Opinion | ESG Can't Square With Fiduciary Duty". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  21. ^ Maslin, Janet (2006-08-31). "A New York Murder Mystery With Freud at the Center". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  22. ^ "Jed Rubenfeld – The Death Instinct « Crime and Publishing". Archived from the original on 2018-06-21. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
  23. ^ Meadows, Susannah (February 2, 2011). "Brimming With Clues That Are Hard to Link". The New York Times.
  24. ^ Stern, Seth (February 23, 2011). "Book review: 'The Death Instinct' by Jed Rubenfeld". The Washington Post.
  25. ^ Rubenfeld, Jed (2010). The Death Instinct. Headline Review. ISBN 978-0755343997.
  26. ^ Mystal, Elie (20 September 2018). "Details On The Allegations Against, And Yale Law School Investigation Into, Professor Jed Rubenfeld". Above the Law. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
  27. ^ a b Kirchgaessner, Stephanie (September 20, 2018). "'No accident' Brett Kavanaugh's female law clerks 'looked like models', Yale professor told students". The Guardian. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  28. ^ "'No accident' Brett Kavanaugh's female law clerks 'looked like models', Yale professor told students". the Guardian. 2018-09-20. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  29. ^ "Yale Law Professor and Title IX Critic Suspended in Title IX Case | Inside Higher Ed". 28 August 2020. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  30. ^ Prihar, Asha (October 26, 2018). "YLS alumni reflect on Rubenfeld allegations". Yale News. Retrieved May 4, 2022.
  31. ^ Brown, Julia (October 12, 2020). "Law students demand Rubenfeld's permanent removal, greater transparency". Retrieved 2020-10-12.
  32. ^ Carmon, Irin (2020-08-26). "Yale Law Professor Jed Rubenfeld Suspended for Sexual Harassment". Intelligencer. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  33. ^ "Courses | Yale Law School Course Information and Selection Site". Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  34. ^ Zaveri, Mihir (2020-08-26). "Yale Law Professor Is Suspended After Sexual Harassment Inquiry". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-12-08.
  35. ^ Cochrane, Kira (7 February 2014). "The truth about the Tiger Mother's family".
  36. ^ Chua, Amy (January 8, 2011). "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior". Wall Street Journal.
  37. ^ Marantz, Andrew, "Ink: The Tiger Cub Speaks," The New Yorker, Feb. 10, 2014, p.20, 22.

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