Mortimer Sellers

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Mortimer Sellers
Regents Professor
University System of Maryland
Assumed office
Personal details
Born 1959
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Frances Stead Sellers
Alma mater Harvard College (A.B.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Oxford University (B.C.L.)
Oxford University (D.Phil.)
Occupation Professor
Academic Administrator
Website [1]

Mortimer Sellers (M.N.S. Sellers) (born 1959) is Regents Professor of the University System of Maryland and President of the International Association for Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy (IVR). His work primarily concerns the philosophy of law, with an emphasis on international law, constitutional law, comparative law and legal history. He has been a Regents Professor of the University System of Maryland since 2003,[1] the highest honor in the UM System. [2] Sellers is best known for his books on republican legal and political philosophy, global justice, and universal human rights. He has been Director of the University of Baltimore Center for International and Comparative Law since 1994.[3]


The interdisciplinary nature of Sellers' work has been consistent throughout his career. After graduating from Harvard College, summa cum laude, and Harvard Law School, Sellers studied history and philosophy at University College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and Frank Knox Fellow, taking a degree in Civil Law in addition to his doctorate in Literae Humaniores. He has taught in the University System of Maryland since 1989 taught and pursued research as a visitor at Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard University, Cambridge University, Bryn Mawr College, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and the Academy of International Law in The Hague.


Along with authors such as Philip Pettit and Jürgen Habermas, Sellers has been a leader in reviving republican ideas among philosophers and lawyers and in international politics. Sellers' conception of republicanism is grounded in the history of ideas, with an emphasis on constitutional procedures and the concept of the common good. Sellers has written extensively on the republican antecedents of the French Revolution and the American Revolution, and the influence of legal philosophy and legal education on political and social change. He has been an active participant in the development of post-Soviet and post-authoritarian legal institutions in Europe, Asia, and South America.

Sellers’ public influence arises in part from his editorship (with Mark Agrast) of the book series ASIL Studies in International Legal Theory and (with David Gerber) of ASCL Studies in Comparative Law, both published by Cambridge University Press. Much of the most important new thought in international and comparative law has been published in these series. He is also the editor (with Stephan Kirste) of the IVR Encyclopedia of the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy.

In addition to his scholarly work, Sellers has been active in promoting international cooperation between lawyers and judges to advance global justice, through the European-American Consortium for Legal Education (EACLE), the Brazil-United States Administration of Justice Project and the International Association of Comparative Law, among other initiatives. He frequently teaches, lectures, and publishes outside the United States. Sellers is married to the journalist Frances Stead Sellers.


Books by M.N.S Sellers[edit]

  • Parochialism, Cosmopolitanism, and the Foundations of International Law (Cambridge, 2011)
  • The Rule of Law in Comparative Perspective (with Tadeusz Tomaszewski) (Springer, 2010)
  • The Internationalization of Law and Legal Education (with Jan Klabbers) (Springer, 2008)
  • Autonomy in the Law (Springer, 2007)
  • Republican Principles in International Law: The Fundamental Requirements of a Just World Order (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)
  • Universal Human Rights: Moral Order in a Divided World (with David Reidy) (Rowman and Littlefield, 2005)
  • Place, Memory and Time (with Anthony F.C. Wallace and H. Dabbs Woodfin) (Newlin Foundation, 2004)
  • Republican Legal Theory: The History, Constitution and Purposes of Law in a Free State (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)
  • The Sacred Fire of Liberty: Republicanism, Liberalism and the Law (Macmillan, 1998)
  • The New World Order: Sovereignty, Human Rights, and the Self-Determination of Peoples (Berg, 1996)
  • American Republicanism: Roman Ideology in the United States Constitution (Macmillan, 1994)
  • An Ethical Education: Community and Morality in the Multicultural University (Berg, 1994)