Professor Sarah Cleveland is a noted expert in international law and the constitutional law of U.S. foreign relations, with particular interests in the status of international law in U.S. domestic law, international humanitarian law, human rights law, and the constitutional law of U.S. foreign relations. From 2009 to 2011, she served as the Counselor on International Law to the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State, where she supervised the office's legal work relating to the law of war, counterterrorism, and Afghanistan and Pakistan, and assisted with its international human rights and international justice work. She is the U.S. Observer Member to the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, a member of the Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on International Law, and a member of the American Law Institute.
Cleveland has testified before Congress on U.S. terrorism detention policy, the relevance of international law in constitutional interpretation, and the interdiction of Haitian refugees, and has provided evidence to the U.K. Parliament. She is currently co-director of the Project on Harmonization of the Law of Armed Conflict, and has been involved in human rights litigation in the United States and before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
A former Rhodes Scholar, Cleveland holds a baccalaureate degree from Brown University, a master's degree from Oxford University and a J.D. from Yale Law School. She clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun and Judge Louis Oberdorfer on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Before joining the Columbia Law School faculty in 2007, she previously taught at the Harvard, Michigan, and University of Texas law schools and at Oxford University.
Cleveland has written widely on issues of international law, human rights, and U.S. foreign relations law. She is a co-author of Louis Henkin's Human Rights casebook (2nd ed. 2009). Other scholarly writings include Embedded International Law and the Constitution Abroad (Colum. L. Rev. 2010); American Exceptionalism and the Dred Scott Case (Chicago Kent L. Rev. 2007); Our International Constitution (Yale J. Int'l L. 2006); Powers Inherent in Sovereignty: Indians, Aliens, Territories and the Nineteenth Century Origins of Plenary Power Over Foreign Affairs, (Texas L. Rev. 2002); Human Rights Sanctions and International Trade: A Theory of Compatibility (J. Int'l Econ. L. 2002); and Norm Internalization and U.S. Economic Sanctions, (Yale J. Int'l L., Winter 2001). She serves on the board of editors of the Journal of International Economic Law and the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law.