Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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Kris Kobach ’95JD

Amid all the talk about whether Arizona’s controversial new immigration law is constitutional, law professor Kris Kobach ’95JD has little doubt. Then again, he’s not just any law prof: in addition to his teaching post at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law, Kobach is also the legal brains behind S.B. 1070; a consultant hired to train Arizona sheriffs in carrying it out; and a litigator for other local governments enacting strict immigration laws.

The Arizona law has spurred nationwide protests and talk of US Justice Department intervention. That “would be highly unusual,” says Kobach, himself a former Justice Department official under Attorney General John Ashcroft ’64. While critics say national law preempts the Arizona statute, the professor responds that the state law merely reinforces identical, longstanding federal provisions—so there’s no reason for Justice Department involvement “unless it was being motivated by political calculations.”

Kobach is well-versed in that subject as well: he earned a PhD in political science at Oxford before coming to Yale Law School. Oh, and he’s running for secretary of the state in Kansas. His stints as TV guest of Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck should save his campaign some money on advertising.

Filed under Law School, immigration, legislation
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