Jonathan M. Zasloff

Professor of Law

  • B.A. Yale, 1987
  • J.D. Yale, 1993
  • M.Phil. International Relations, Cambridge, 1988
  • M.A. History, Harvard, 1990
  • Ph.D. Harvard, 2000
  • UCLA Law faculty since 1998

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Property, Land Use, Environmental Law, Housing Discrimination Law, and Jewish Law. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees.

Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a Ph.D. in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in U.S. external relations, and he has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses.

Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of the California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low-income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He has served on the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy. Additionally, Professor Zasloff received smicha (rabbinic ordination) in 2019 and also teaches Talmud classes to UCLA undergraduates and in the community.


  • Articles And Chapters
    • Owens Valley Redux: The Case for Los Angeles and Why It Matters for the Planet, 53 The Urban Lawyer 1 (Fall 2024). Full Text
    • The Emerging Civil Right to Counsel in India: On "Enforceable" Directive Principles.  17 Vienna Journal of International Constitutional Law (peer-reviewed) (forthcoming 2023). Full Text
    • Sanctuary, Civil Disobedience, and Jewish Law, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies. vol. 40 no. 3, 2022, p. 120-169, (peer-reviewed publication). Full Text
    • Jim Crow As Kafka: Voter Suppression on the Ground, UCLA School of Law Public Law & Legal Theory Working Paper No. 19-46 (Dec. 4, 2019). Full Text
    • W(h)ither Environmental Justice?, 66 UCLA Law Review Discourse 178 (2019). Full Text
    • Between Resistance and Embrace: American Realtors, the Justice Department, and the Uncertain Triumph of the Fair Housing Act, 1968-1978, 61 Howard Law Journal 69 (2017). Full Text
    • The Price of Equality: Fair Housing, Land Use, and Disparate Impact, 48 Columbia Human Rights Law Review 98 (2017). Full Text
    • The Secret History of the Fair Housing Act, 53 Harvard Journal on Legislation 247 (2016). Full Text
    • Why No Parliaments in the United States?, 35 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 269 (2013). Full Text
    • Courts in the Age of Dysfunction, 121 Yale Law Journal Online 479 (2012). Full Text
    • India's Land Title Crisis: The Unanswered Questions, 3 Jindal Global Law Review 117 (2011). Full Text
    • The Housing Market Effects of Discrete Land Use Regulations: Evidence from the California Coastal Boundary Zone (with Matthew Kahn & Ryan Vaughn), 19 Journal of Housing Economics 269-79 (2010). Full Text
    • Choose the Best Answer: Organizing Climate Change Negotiation in the Obama Administration, 103 Northwestern University Law Review: Colloquy 330. Full Text
    • Dean's List: Power, Institutions, and Achesonian Diplomacy, 103 American Journal of International Law 375 (2009). Review of Dean Acheson: A Life in the Cold War, by Robert L. Beisner. Full Text
    • Cities, Land Use, and the Global Commons: Genesis and the Urban Politics of Climate Change (with Katherine A. Trisolini), in Adjudicating Climate Change: State, National, and International Approaches, (edited by William Burns & Hari Osofsky, Cambridge University Press, 2009). Full Text
    • International Decision: Massachusetts v. E.P.A., 102 American Journal of International Law 134 (2008).
    • The Judicial Carbon Tax: Reconstructing Public Nuisance and Climate Change, 55 UCLA Law Review 1827 (2008). Full Text
    • Left and Right in the Middle East: Notes on the Social Construction of Race, 47 Virginia Journal of International Law 201 (2006-2007). Full Text
    • Some More Realism About Realism: Dean Acheson and the Jurisprudence of Cold War Diplomacy, UCLA School of Law Working Paper Series, Public Law & Legal Theory Working Paper No. 07-01 (2007). Full Text
    • Power and International Law (with Richard H. Steinberg), 100 American Journal of International Law 64-87 (2006). Full Text
    • Roadblocks to the Road Map: A Negotiation Theory Perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict After Yasser Arafat (with Russell Korobkin), 30 Yale Journal of International Law 1 (2005).
    • Law and the Shaping of American Foreign Policy: The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 77 Southern California Law Review 583-682. Full Text
    • Taking Politics Seriously: A Theory of California’s Separation of Powers, 51 UCLA Law Review 1079-1150 (2004). Full Text
    • Smart Growth, Southern California Environmental Report Card 12-19 (2003).
    • Tiebout & Tax Revolts: Did Serrano Really Cause Proposition 13? (with Kirk J. Stark), 50 UCLA Law Review 801-58 (2003). Full Text
    • Law and the Shaping of American Foreign Policy: From the Gilded Age to the New Era, 8 NYU Law Review 239-373 (2002). Full Text
    • Environmental Justice (with Ann Carlson), Southern California Environmental Report Card 22-31 (2001).
    • Children, Families, and Bureaucrats: A Prehistory of Welfare Reform, 14 Journal of Law and Politics 225-317 (1998).
    • The Tyranny of Madison, Review of South Africa’s Crisis of Constitutional Democracy: Can the U.S. Constitution Help?, 44 UCLA Law Review 795-864 (1997).
    • Abolishing Coercion: The Jurisprudence of American Foreign Policy in the 1920's, 102 Yale Law Journal 1689-1719 (1993).
  • Other
    • Commentary: The Legacy of Elihu Root, 100 Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 213 (2006).
    • Book Review, Max Lerner’s Judicious Review, The Boston Globe (Aug. 9, 1994). Reviewing Nine Scorpions in a Bottle:  Great Judges and Cases of the Supreme Court, by Max Lerner.
    • Book Review, The Varied Domain of Thurgood Marshall, The Boston Sunday Globe (June 19, 1994). Reviewing Making Civil Rights Law: Thurgood Marshall and Supreme Court, 1936-1961, by Mark Tushnet.
    • Book Review, The Judge’s Judge, Wall Street Journal (Dec. 30, 1993). Reviewing Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes:  Law and the Inner Self, by G. Edward White.
  • Books
    • Moving Toward Integration: The Past and Future of Fair Housing (with Yana Kucheva and Richard Sander). Harvard Univ. Press (2018).