Professor Christina Ponsa-Kraus

Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

  • George Welwood Murray Professor of Legal History

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2010
J.D., Yale Law School, 1998
M.Phil., University of Cambridge, 1995
B.A., Princeton University, 1990

Areas of Specialty

American Legal History
Constitutional Law

Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus joined the faculty of Columbia Law School in 2007. She writes about the constitutional history of American territorial expansion and the extraterritorial application of the U.S. Constitution, examining their implications for American federalism, citizenship, and nationhood. Ponsa-Kraus is especially interested in the legal issues surrounding the political status of Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories (the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the CNMI, and American Samoa), and has written about these issues in the mainstream media as well as in scholarly publications. She is the co-editor of Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico, American Expansion, and the Constitution, a groundbreaking study of the United States’ unfinished colonial experiment.

Ponsa-Kraus is currently working on a study of recent legal developments affecting the status of the U.S. territories.

Before joining the Law School, Ponsa-Kraus clerked for Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and for Justice Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. She is an affiliated faculty member of the Columbia University Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity.


Selected Publications:

  • Fantasy Island” (with Erin F. Delaney), Yale Journal of International Law Online (May 19, 2018). Response to Joseph Blocher & Mitu Gulati, Puerto Rico and the Right to Accession, 43 YALE J. INT’L L. (2018). Published as part of a symposium.
  • The Crisis of 1909, and the Other Crisis of 1909,” Revista de la Academia Puertorriqueña de Legislación y Jurisprudencia (online journal), Vol. VIII (2016)
  • “When Statehood Was Autonomy,” in Gerald L. Neuman & Tomiko Brown-Nagin, eds., Reconsidering the Insular Cases: The Past and Future of the American Empire, a publication of the Harvard Human Rights Program Series (Harvard University Press, 2015).
  • Los Casos Insulares: Doctrina Desanexionista, 78:3 Revista Jurídica Universidad de Puerto Rico 661 (2009) (with Adriel Cepeda Derieux).
  • A Convenient Constitution? Extraterritoriality after Boumediene, 109:5 Columbia Law Review 973 (2009).
  • “They Say I Am Not an American”…: The Non-Citizen National and the Law of American Empire, 48:4 Virginia Journal of International Law 659 (2008).
  • “None of the Above Means More of the Same: Why Solving Puerto Rico’s Status Problem Matters,” in Frances Negrón Muntaner, ed., None of the Above: Puerto Ricans in the Global Era (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007).
  • Two Puerto Rican Senators Stay Home,” 116 Yale L.J. Pocket Part 408 (2007)
  • “The Edges of Empire and the Limits of Sovereignty: American Guano Islands,” in Mary Dudziak and Leti Volpp, eds., Legal Borderlands: Law and the Construction of American Borders, 57:3 American Quarterly 779 (Special Issue, 2005).
  • Untied States: American Expansion and Territorial Deannexation, 72:3 University of Chicago Law Review 797 (2005).
  • Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico, American Expansion, and the Constitution (with Burke Marshall), Duke University Press, 2001

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