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Erin Daly

Professor of Law

B.A., Wesleyan University 

J.D., University of Michigan


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 302.477.2143


Erin Daly is Professor of Law at Delaware Law School and the co-founder of the Dignity Rights Project. She served as Interim Dean and Vice Dean of the Law School in 2013-2015.

Professor Daly has written extensively on comparative constitutional law and transitional justice issues throughout the world. She is the author of Dignity Rights: Courts, Constitutions, and the Worth of the Human Person (U. Penn 2013), with a Foreword by former President of the Israeli Supreme Court, Aharon Barak. This is the first book to explore the constitutional law of dignity around the world. In Dignity Rights, Professor Daly shows how dignity has come not only to define specific interests like the right to humane treatment or to earn a living wage, but also to protect the basic rights of a person to control his or her own life and to live in society with others. She argues that, through the right to dignity, courts are redefining what it means to be human in the modern world. She is the co-author, with James R. May, of the first casebook on Dignity Rights (W.S. Hein, forthcoming 2020).

With Professor May, she has also co-authored or co-edited numerous volumes on environmental constitutionalism including Global Environmental Constitutionalism (Cambridge 2015), Implementing Environmental Constitutionalism (Cambridge 2018), Encyclopedia of Human Rights and the Environment: Legality, Indivisibility, Dignity and Geography (Edward Elgar 2019) and Handbook on Environmental Constitutionalism, and Compendium of Cases (3d edition, United Nations Environment 2019), used in judicial workshops.

Professor Daly's first book, Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground, (U. Penn 2006, 2010), was co-authored with South African scholar Jeremy Sarkin and with a foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Professor Daly serves as the Director of the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment, as the US National Correspondent for the Centre international de droit comparé de l'environnement (CIDCE) at Limoges, and as the Vice President for Institutional Development at the Université de la Fondation Aristide in Haiti.

She joined the faculty at Widener in 1993. She served as Interim Dean 2013-2015, Vice Dean 2013-2014, and Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development 2007-2011. She has directed summer programs in Sydney, Australia and Venice, Italy. She teaches in the areas of Dignity Rights, Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Administrative Law, Human Rights, and International Law. She received a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and her J.D. from the University of Michigan. She is currently a candidate for a Ph.D. from the University of Cape Town.


Constitutional Law, Comparative Constitutional Law, First Amendment, Administrative Law, and Human Rights.


Publications on Selected Works

Publications on SSRN


The International Library of Critical Writings on Law and the Environment: Environmental Constitutionalism, (forthcoming, Edward Elgar 2015), ed., with James R. May

Global Environmental Constitutionalism (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press 2014), with James R. May

Dignity Rights: Courts, Constitutions, and the Worth of the Human Person (University of Pennsylvania Press 2012, Series on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism), with a Foreword by Aharon Barak

Reconciliation in Divided Societies: Finding Common Ground (University of Pennsylvania Press, Human Rights Series), with Jeremy Sarkin, with a Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.  (2006; paperback 2010)

In Progress

Transitional Justice in Iraq: Reconciliation and Political Reconstruction post-Saddam (forthcoming I.B. Tauris)

Book Chapters

"The Future We Want and Constitutionally Enshrined Procedural Rights in Environmental Matters," in Global Environmental Law At A Crossroads (Robert V. Percival, Jolene Lin, and William Piermattei, eds.,) Edward Elgar 2014, with James R. May

"Dworkinian Dignity: Rights and Responsibilities of a Life Well Lived," in Lokendra Malik (Ed.), Law and Dignity: Essays in Honour and Memory of Professor Ronald Dworkin, Oxford University Press, 2014

"Dignidade constitucional: direitos e valores em construção" “Constitutional Dignity: Rights and Values in Concert,” in “Leituras Constitucionais Contemporâneas” ed. Felipe Dutra Asensi and Daniel Giotti de Paula, translated into Portuguese (Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil) (2014)

“Fundamental Environmental Rights,” with James R. May, in Environmental Rights World Wide, Tareq M R Chowdhury and Md. Jahid Hossain Bhuiyan, eds., (Asia Publications, Dhaka, Bangladesh) (2012)

“Fundamental Environmental Rights,” with James R. May, in Routledge Handbook of International Environmental Law, Shawkat Alam, Jahid Hossain Bhuiyan, Tareq M.R. Chowdhury, and Erika J Techera, eds. (Routledge 2012).

"Constitutional Environmental Rights Worldwide" Chapter 13 in Principles of Constitutional Environmental Law, James R. May, ed. (ABA/ELI 2011), with James R. May

Articles, Blogs, Notes, and Encyclopedia Entries

"Transitional Justice in Iraq: Learning the Hard Way." Israel Law Review, 47, pp 63-83  (2014). doi:10.1017/S0021223713000253

The Dignity of Windsor: The Marriage of Equality and Liberty (under submission)

Contributor, Ratio Juris, January 2013-present
    Dignity's Debut: A Marriage of Liberty and Equality, July 5, 2013
    The Human Genome: Dignity or Commodification, April 15, 2013
    The Dignity of Same-Sex Marriage, March 27, 2013
    What's at Stake in the Voting Rights Case, February 27, 2013
    The Supreme Court's Busy Term under Bobby Lipkin's Bright Light, January 24, 2013

With James R. May, "Constitutional Environmental Rights and Liability," Environmental Liability (January 2013)

"Constitutional Protection for Environmental Rights: The Benefits of Environmental Process," 17 Int. J. Peace Studies 71 (Winter 2012)

"First vindication of constitutional rights of nature from a provincial court in Ecuador," Review of European Community & International Environmental Law, 21 (1) 2012 at 63.

With James R. May, “New Directions in Earth Rights, Environmental Rights and Human Rights: Six Facets of Constitutionally Embedded Environmental Rights Worldwide,” IUCN Academy of Environmental Law E-Journal, at (peer reviewed)

Book Review, “When Blood and Bones Cry Out: Journeys Through the Soundscape of Healing and Reconciliation,” 23 Peace Review 410-413 (2011)
“Dignity in the Roberts Court,” 37 Ohio Northern Law Review 381-427 (2011).

Entries on “Rule of Law” and on “Truth” in Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice (Cambridge University Press) (invited 2012)

Entry on “Human Rights” in Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History (CQ Press) (Richard  Vallely, ed.) (invited 2010)

“Dignity in the Service of Democracy” Working papers series, available at, noted in Legal Theory Blog

“Environmental Human Rights: Paradigm of Indivisibility”, Working papers series, available at

“Foreword – In Memory of Robert J. Lipkin,” with James R. May and Robert L. Hayman, 2010 Widener Law Review I (2010)

“Vindicating Fundamental Environmental Rights: Judicial Acceptance of Constitutionally Entrenched Environmental Rights,” with James R. May, 11 Oregon Rev. Intl. L. 365 (2009)

Garcetti in Delaware, 11 Delaware L. Rev. 23 (2009) (invited)

Truth Skepticism, 2 Int. J. Trans. Justice 23-41 (2008) (peer reviewed)

The New Liberty, 11 Widener L. Rev. 221-248 (2005) (Symposium Issue) (invited)

Too Many Questions, Too Few Answers: Reconciliation in Times of Transition, with Jeremy Sarkin, 35 Col. Hum. Rights Law Review 661-728 (2004)

Reparations in South Africa: A Cautionary Tale, 33 U. Memphis L. Rev. 367-407 (2003) (Symposium Issue)

Between Punitive and Reconstructive Justice: The Gacaca Courts in Rwanda, 34 N.Y.U. J. Int. L. & Pol. 355-396 (2002)

Transformative Justice: Charting a Path to Reconciliation, 12 Int. L.Perspectives 73-183 (2002)

What We Knew or Should Have Known about the Independent Counsel, 5 Widener L. Symp. J. 259 (2000)

The Limits of the Constitutional Imagination: Equality in the Era of Assimilation, 4 Widener L.Symp. J. 121-166 (1999)

Pragmatists, Idealists, and Textualists: Judging Electoral Districts in America, Canada, and Australia, 21 B.C. Int. & Comp. L. Rev. 261-384 (1998)

Reconsidering Abortion Law: Liberty, Equality, and the New Rhetoric of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 45 Am. U. L. Rev. 77-150 (1995)

The Incremental Harm Doctrine, 46 Ark. L. Rev. 371-396 (1993)

Sexual Orientation and Workplace Rights, 18 Empl. Rel. L. J. 29-60 (1992), with Howard Simon

On Comparative Constitutional Law & Transitional Justice

"Right to Dignity and Well Being", at “Constitutional Rights, Judicial Independence and the Transition to Democracy: Twenty Years of South African Constitutionalism,” New York Law School, November 14-16, 2014.

"The Untapped Potential of Procedural Environmental Rights," at 2014 UNITAR-Yale Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy, Human Rights, Environmental Sustainability, Post-2015 Development, and the Future Climate Regime, Yale University, 5-7 September 2014

"Comparative Lessons from the United States," Research Workshop: Hydraulic Fracturing: A Comparative Assessment Research Workshop at the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law 12th Annual Colloquium, July 1, 2014, Tarragona, Spain (with James R. May).

"The Future of Environmental Constitutionalism in Advancing Energy for a Fair Society in a Safe Planet," IUCN Academy of Environmental Law 12th Annual Colloquium, July 2, 2014 Tarragona, Spain (with James R. May).

"Law School Practicum on Global Environmental Constitutionalism," Teaching and Capacity Building Workshop: IUCN Academy of Environmental Law 12th Annual Colloquium, June 30, 2014 Tarragona, Spain (with James R. May).

Participant and Presenter, Overview of Global Environmental Constitutionalism, UN Consultation on Human and Environmental Rights, Johannesburg, South Africa, January 23-24, 2014

"Constitutional Comparisons: Emerging Dignity Rights at Home and Abroad" H. Albert Young Lecture, Wilmington, Delaware, September 19, 2013

Reconciliation in Iraq, at Transitions in/to Democracy: Contemporary Chances and Challenges, Minerva Center for Human Rights, Jerusalem October 2012

Water Rights in Domestic Constitutions – Vindicating Environmental Rights: Constitutional Protection for Present & Future Generations, 10th Annual Colloquium of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law, University of Maryland, July 2012

Presenter and co-organizer, "Constitutional Environmental Law: A Workshop," Widener Law School, Wilmington DE, May 2012

“Constitutional Protection for Environmental Rights: Participation and Consultation” International Studies Association, San Diego, April 2012

Transitional Justice in Iraq: Exemplary or Exceptional?" British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Annual Conference 2012, 'Revolution and Revolt: Understanding the Forms and Causes of Change' British Society for Middle Eastern Studies, London School of Economics, March 2012

Chair, “New Voices in Human Rights,” Annual Meeting of the Association of American Law Schools, January 2012.

"Reconciliation in Divided Societies," Sovereign Challenge VIII, United States Special Operations Command, Savannah, Georgia, December 6-9, 2011

Presenter, Dignity in the Service of Democracy, VIIIth World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL), Mexico City, 6-10 December 2010

Presenter, The Indivisibility of Environmental Human Rights, VIIIth World Congress of the IACL, Mexico City, 6-10 December 2010

Panelist, “Transitional Justice in a Failing State” What Makes States Successful? Afghanistan and the Future of State Building, University of La Verne College of Law, April 15-17, 2010

Participant, IALS General Assembly meeting and Educational Program: International Association of Law Schools Conference on Constitutional Law, September 9-11, 2009

 “The Right to Dignity in the Liberal State,” at The Futures of Human Rights: Moral, Political, and Legal Cultures, University of South Carolina, Columbia, February 28, 2009

“Dignity in Transition,” International Studies Association, New York, February 2009

“The Right to Dignity in Foreign Courts,” Lectures and Awards, University of Oregon, September 2008

“Constitutional Transitions,” International Studies Association, San Francisco, March 2008

“Constitutional Omission,” Temple Law School, November 2007

“Truth Skepticism,@ International Studies Association, Chicago, Spring 2007

AThe Scream: Women’ Voice in Transitional Justice,” Delaware Valley Women’s Law Conference, Widener University, February 2005

Panelist, Delaware Valley International Law Day, Temple University, 2004, 2005

AReconciliation and Human Rights,@ Panelist, American Society of Comparative Law, University of Michigan, October 2004

“Structural Reconciliation,” Multidisciplinary Findings in Conflict Research, University of Ulster, Derry, Northern Ireland, September 2004

“The Moral Meaning of Apology,” International Association of Educators for World Peace, First Annual Meeting, Morehouse College, April 2004

“A Model for Reconciliation in Iraq,” Delaware Valley International Law Day, Temple University, November 2003

“Peacebuilding after Peace Accords,” Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame, September 2003 

Research Seminar on Reconciliation, University of Technology, Sydney, July 2003

ALessons from South Africa,@ Reparations for Children of Slavery Conference, University of Memphis, March 2002

Reconstruction and Reparations, Cape Town, South Africa, January 2001

On American Constitutional Law

Co-organizer of Roe After 40, a year-long series of symposia at area law schools marking the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, 2013

"The Stolen Valor Act and the First Amendment," Decisions Made, Votes Cast, and Policies Implemented: The October 2011 Term and the Role of the Supreme Court in American Policy and Politics, Kutztown University, November 2012

"Surprises of the Supreme Court Term 2011" Academy of Lifelong Learning, University of Delaware, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, May 2012

"Habeas Corpus and the Terrorism Cases," Academy of Lifelong Learning, University of Delaware, Wilmington Delaware, November 2009

AActive Liberty: The Jurisprudence of Justice Stephen Breyer,@ Delaware State Bar Association CLE Presentation, January 20, 2006

“Bill of Rights in the Twenty-First Century: First Amendment after 9/11,” Sponsored by the Delaware ACLU, March 2003

Law & Government Symposium, Widener University (Harrisburg), November 2002

“Is Progressive Constitutionalism Dead?,” Widener University, October 1997

Delaware Valley Women’s Law Conference, 1996, 1998

Other Presentations and Writing

"Lawmakers increasingly undermining Roe v. Wade," with John Culhane, Wilmington News Journal, January 18, 2013

"Budget numbers affect people, who deserve dignity," Wilmington News Journal, December 15, 2012

Interview regarding United States v. Alvarez (Stolen Valor Case) with Wilmington News Journal, July 2, 2012.

Interviews regarding Supreme Court decision on Health Care Law, June 27-28, 2012: WDEL-FM, CBS Morning News, Wilmington News Journal
"Health-care law puts Supreme Court atop a slippery slope," Philadelphia Inquirer, June 19, 2012

“Lobbying disclosure law does little to assist inquiring citizens,” Wilmington News Journal and Delaware Online, March 11, 2011.

Interview with Delaware First Media, on Snyder v Phelps, March 3, 2011

“Senate Debate Served Us All Well,” Wilmington News Journal and Delaware Online, October 28, 2010, with Paul Regan
Interviews with WDEL, ABC Radio, Associated Press about Senate Debate, October 22, 2010

“Finger Pointing in the Gulf Gets Us Nowhere: As Americans, we should all be concerned,” Wilmington News Journal and Delaware Online, June 11, 2010.

Interview with WHYY about pharmaceutical companies’ first amendment claims against FDA, April 28, 2010.

Interviews with WDEL and WILM about U.S. Supreme Court news, occasional 2009-2010

AGame Theory for Fighting Democrats,@ Wilmington News Journal and Delaware online, May 9, 2008, with Lawrence Hamermesh

ALegal Lesson,@ WHYY-TV, Occasional Guest

Interview with Delaware Today about Gonzales v. Carhart, April 2007

Interview with WILM-FM about Delaware Supreme Court case concerning free speech, November 2005

ALife Matters” Radio National, Australian Broadcast Corporation, June 2003

Public Affairs show, 2SER (national Australian student broadcast station), July 2003

“Delaware Tonight,” guest appearance about Patriot Act, WHYY-TV, March 2003

ALet the Sun Shine In: The First Amendment and the War on Terrorism,@ 21 Del.  Lawyer 14 (2003)

ANew Hurdles for Environmental Justice Movement,@ 17 Natural Resources & Environment 18 (2002) (published by the ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources)

Contributor, Oxford Companion to the Australian High Court (2002) (entry on U.S. Supreme Court) (Blackshield, Williams & Coper eds.)

Symposium Chair, The Independent Counsel After Sunset: New Approaches to a Persistent Problem, 5 Widener L. Symp. J. (2000)