Yale Law Appoints First Tenured Hispanic Professor


In what is shaping up to be a month of firsts in the Connecticut legal community for Latinos, make that Latinas, Yale Law School has appointed Cristina Rodríguez, a 2000 graduate of the school, its first tenured Latina (or Latino for that matter) tenured professor. Earlier this month, Appellate Court judge Carmen Espinosa was nominated to be the first Hispanic Connecticut Supreme Court jurist.
Yale Law School Dean Robert Post announced that Rodríguez joins the faculty as a professor of law, effective Jan. 28, 2013. She will teach constitutional law, administrative law, and immigration law. The Yale Daily News reported, and Jan Conroy, Yale Law School director of communications, confirmed that she is the first Hispanic to be awarded a tenured professor position at Yale Law School.
According to a Yale Law School announcement, “An expert on the effects of immigration on society and culture, as well as the legal and political strategies societies adopt to absorb immigrant populations, Rodríguez comes to Yale Law School from the U.S. Department of Justice, where she was a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel. She was on leave from the New York University School of Law, where she taught since 2004. Her research interests include constitutional law and theory; immigration law and policy; administrative law and process; language rights and policy; and citizenship theory.
“It is extraordinarily exciting that Cristina will be joining the Yale community, said Post. “Cristina is the nation’s leading theorist of immigration law. Her work is both practical and cutting edge, and she brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge. She is a superb teacher, and I expect that she will be a mentor to generations of students.”
Rodríguez earned both her B.A. and J.D. degrees from Yale, serving as articles editor for The Yale Law Journal and winning the Benjamin Sharps Prize for the best paper by a third-year law student. She also attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, where she received a Master of Letters in Modern History. Following law school, Rodríguez clerked for Judge David S. Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor of the U.S. Supreme Court.
In fall 2009, Rodríguez was appointed the Sidley Austin-Robert D. McLean ’70 Visiting Professor of Law and Robina Foundation Senior Fellow at Yale Law School, teaching Immigration Law and Policy. During this time, she was nominated for the Yale Law Women excellence in teaching award.
Rodríguez has been a non-resident fellow of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a non-partisan think tank focused on the study of global migration, as well as a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In her work with MPI, Rodríguez focused on understanding the policy implications of state and local immigration regulation, particularly state and local police involvement in immigration enforcement.