Jon D. Michaels

Professor of Law

  • B.A. Williams College, 1998
  • B.A./M.A. University of Oxford, 2000
  • J.D. Yale, 2003
  • UCLA Faculty Since 2008

Jon Michaels is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law. His scholarly and teaching interests include constitutional law, administrative law, national security law, the separation of powers, presidential power, regulation, bureaucracy, and privatization.

Michaels (view CV) is a graduate of Williams College, Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and Yale Law School, where he served as an articles editor for the Yale Law Journal. Michaels clerked first for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and then for Justice David Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. Immediately prior to his appointment at UCLA, Michaels worked as an associate in Arnold & Porter’s National Security Law and Public Policy Group in Washington, DC.

A two-time winner of the American Constitution Society’s Cudahy Award for scholarly excellence in administrative law and an elected member of the American Law Institute, Michaels has written essays for the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Foreign Affairs, Time Magazine, and the Guardian. He is a frequent legal affairs commentator for national and local media outlets.

His 2017 book, Constitutional Coup: Privatization’s Threat to the American Republic, was published by Harvard University Press. Michaels’s second book, titled Vigilante Nation: How State-Sponsored Terror Threatens Our Democracy will be published by Simon & Schuster/Atria in October 2024.

Michaels’ scholarly writings include


  • Books
    • Vigilante Nation: How State-Sponsored Terror Threatens Our Democracy (with David Noll). Simon & Schuster/Atria (forthcoming October 2024). Book Info.
    • Constitutional Coup: Privatization’s Threat to the American Republic. Harvard Univ. Press (2017). Introduction
  • Articles And Chapters
    • Designing a Latter-Day Freedmen's Bureau, 71 UCLA L. Rev. Discourse 70. Full Text
    • Vigilante Federalism (with David Noll), 108 Cornell L. Rev. 1187 (2023). Full Text
    • Just-Right Government: Interstate Compacts and Multistate Governance in an Era of Political Polarization, Policy Paralysis, and Bad-Faith Partisanship (with Emme Tyler), 98 Indiana Law Journal 863 (2023). Full Text
    • Blue State Exodus? (with David Noll), 2023 Pepperdine Law Review 58-73 (2023). Full Text
    • Abandoning Presidential Administration: A Civic Governance Agenda to Promote Democratic Equality and Guard Against Creeping Authoritarianism (with Blake Emerson), 68 UCLA Law Review 104 (2021). Full Text
    • Baller Judges, 2020 Wisconsin Law Review 411 (2020). Full Text
    • We the Shareholders: Government Market Participation in the Postliberal U.S. Political Economy, 120 Columbia Law Review 465 (2020). Full Text
    • The Safeguards of Our Constitutional Republic, 65 UCLA Law Review 1391 (2018).
    • The American Deep State, 93 Notre Dame Law Review 1653 (2018). Full Text
    • Sovereigns, Shopkeepers, and the Separation of Powers, 166 Univ. of Pennsylvania Law Review 861 (2018).
    • Trump and the "Deep State", Foreign Affairs (Sept./Oct. 2017). Full Text
    • The Cycles of Separation-of-Powers Jurisprudence (with Aziz Huq), 126 Yale Law Journal 346-437 (2016). Full Text
    • Of Constitutional Custodians and Regulatory Rivals: An Account of the Old and New Separation of Powers, 91 New York University Law Review 227-91 (2016). Full Text
    • Separation of Powers and Centripetal Forces: Implications for the Institutional Design and Constitutionality of Our National Security State, 83 University of Chicago Law Review 199-220 (2016). Full Text
    • An Enduring, Evolving Separation of Powers, 115 Columbia Law Review 515-98 (2015). Full Text
    • Running Government Like a Business…Then and Now, 128 Harvard Law Review 1152-82 (2015). Full Text
    • Privatization's Progeny, 101 Georgetown Law Journal 1023-1088 (2013). Full Text
    • Private Military Firms, the American Precedent, and the Arab Spring, 48 Stanford Journal of International Law 277 (2012).
    • The (Willingly) Fettered Executive: Presidential Spinoffs in National Security Domains and Beyond, 97 Virginia Law Review 801-98 (2011). Text
    • Privatization's Pretensions, 77 University of Chicago Law Review 717-780 (2010). Full Text
    • Deputizing Homeland Security, 88 Texas Law Review 1435-1473 (2010). Full Text
    • All the President's Spies: Private-Public Intelligence Gathering in the War on Terror, 96 California Law Review 901-966 (2008). Full Text
    • Beyond Accountability: The Constitutional, Democratic, and Strategic Problems with Privatizing War, 82 Washington University Law Quarterly 1001-1127 (2004). Full Text
    • Deforming Welfare: How the Dominant Narratives of Devolution and Privatization Subverted Federal Welfare Reform, 34 Seton Hall Law Review 573-669 (2004). Full Text
    • To Promote the General Welfare: The Republican Imperative To Enhance Citizenship Welfare Rights, 111 Yale Law Journal 1457-1498 (2002). Full Text
    • Faith in the Courts? The Political and Legal Future of Federally-Funded Faith-Based Initiatives (co-authored), 20 Yale Law & Policy Review 183-225 (2002).