Kristin Collins

Professor of Law

Associate Dean for Intellectual Life
Peter Paul Career Development Professor

BA magna cum laude, George Washington University
MLITT, Oxford University
MA, Columbia University
JD, Yale University

Areas of Interest
Citizenship, Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Family Law, Federal Courts, Immigration Law & Policy, Legal History

Kristin Collins joined the faculty of Boston University School of Law in 2006. Her primary research and teaching interests are in the fields of civil procedure, citizenship law, family law, and legal history. Her work has appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Duke Law Journal, Vanderbilt Law Review, and Law and History Review, among others. In the fall of 2012, she held a National Endowment for the Humanities Long-Term Fellowship at the Massachusetts Historical Society, where her research focused on the role of family law in the administration and development of American citizenship and immigration law. In 2013-2014, Professor Collins was the Sidley Austin-Robert D. McLean Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Following graduation from Yale Law School in 2000, Professor Collins served as a senior fellow at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) in Cape Town, where she conducted research on the South African Judiciary and, specifically, the enforcement of constitutional norms in South Africa’s courts. She clerked for Chief Judge John Walker, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and Judge Kimba Wood, US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Following her clerkships she practiced law with a civil rights law firm in New York City.

Professor Collins’s academic papers can be found on her SSRN page.

  1. Kristin Collins, "Fiallo v. Bell in Congress: Plenary Power, Coordinate Branches, and Gender-Based Nationality Laws," in En/Gendering Governance , Kim Rubenstein & Katherine Young, eds., Cambridge University Press (forthcoming).
  2. Kristin Collins, "Federalism, Marriage, and Heather Gerken's Mad Genius," 95 Boston University Law Review 615 (2015).
  3. Kristin Collins, "Illegitimate Borders: Jus Sanguinis Citizenship and the Legal Construction of Family, Race, and Nation," 123 Yale Law Journal 2134 (2014).
  4. Kristin Collins, "'Petitions Without Number': Widows' Petitions and the Early Nineteenth-Century Origins of Public Marriage-Based Entitlements," 31 Law and History Review 1 (2013).
  5. Kristin Collins, "Representing Injustice: Justice as an Icon of Woman Suffrage," 24 Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities 191 (2012).
  6. Kristin Collins & Linda K. Kerber, "Sex and Citizenship in the Court, Again," (July 20, 2011).
  7. Kristin Collins, "A Short History of Sex and Citizenship: The Historians' Amicus Brief in Flores-Villar v. United States," 91 Boston University Law Review 1485 (2011).
  8. Kristin Collins, Brief Amici Curiae of Professors of History, Political Science, and Law in Support of Petitioner, Flores-Villar v. United States, No. 09-5801, 2010 WL 2602009 [Principal Author] (US, June 25, 2010).
  9. Kristin Collins, "'A Considerable Surgical Operation: Article III, Equity, and Judge-Made Law in the Federal Courts," 60 Duke Law Journal 249 (2010).
  10. Kristin Collins, "Go West, Young Woman!: The Mercer Girls and Legal Historiography," 63 Vanderbilt Law Review En Banc 77 (2010).
  11. Kristin Collins & Linda K. Kerber, "Sexing Citizenship," (November 10, 2010). Reprinted in 49 Perspectives on History 29 (2011).
  12. Kristin Collins, "Administering Marriage: Marriage-Based Entitlements, Bureaucracy and the Legal Construction of the Family," 62 Vanderbilt Law Review 1085 (2009).
  13. Kristin Collins, "Hoyt v. Florida, 368 U.S. 57 (1961)," in Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States, David S. Tanenhaus, ed., Gale, 424 (2008).
  14. Kristin Collins, "Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 U.S. 522 (1975)," in Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States, David S. Tanenhaus, ed., Gale, 20 (2008).
  15. Kristin Collins, "Federalism's Fallacy: The Early Tradition of Federal Family Law and the Invention of States' Rights," 26 Cardozo Law Review 1761 (2005).
  16. Kristin Collins, "Terms of Art: Et Ux," Legal Affairs 16 (June 2003).
  17. Kristin Collins, "When Fathers' Rights are Mothers' Duties: The Failure of Equal Protection in Miller v. Albright," 109 Yale Law Journal 1667 (2000).

3 credits

In this seminar, we will examine constitutional questions concerning (1) the acquisition and loss of citizenship status, and (2) the privilege or right of entry into the United States. Specific topics will include birthright citizenship, derivative citizenship, immigration, naturalization, expatriation, denationalization, denaturalization, and citizenship in the United States territories. Throughout, we will consider the extent to which constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process apply in the fields of citizenship and immigration law. For example, is racial profiling permissible in the administration of our immigration laws? We will also examine how structural constitutional principles -- federalism and separation of powers -- shape American citizenship and immigration law. For example, did President Obama have the authority to issue the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" Executive Order, or does the Constitution require congressional approval for such policies? What role may state (as opposed to federal) officials play in the enforcement of our immigration laws? Although our readings will primarily focus citizenship and immigration in the United States, we will also draw on comparative and international law materials. Options for satisfying the writing requirement include one longer paper or three medium-length papers. A limited number of students may be permitted to satisfy the upper-class writing requirement. ** A student who fails to attend the initial meeting of a seminar (designated by an (S) in the title), or to obtain permission to be absent from either the instructor or the Registrar, may be administratively dropped from the seminar. Students who are on a wait list for a seminar are required to attend the first seminar meeting to be considered for enrollment.

FALL 2015: LAW JD 714 A1 , Sep 1st to Dec 1st 2015
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Kristin Collins LAW 518
SPRG 2017: LAW JD 714 A1 , Jan 17th to Apr 25th 2017
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue 4:20 pm 6:20 pm 3 Kristin Collins LAW 419

3 credits

This course focuses on the statutory, constitutional, and judge-made doctrines that shape and restrict the powers of federal courts. In particular, it examines the relationships between the federal courts and the other branches of the federal government, as well as the relationship between the federal and state courts. Selected topics include standing and justiciability, congressional control of the federal courts' powers (such as the extent to which "enemy combatants" may be excluded from federal court), federal question jurisdiction, and state sovereign immunity from suit in federal and state courts. This course builds extensively on topics covered in Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure. It is strongly recommended for students who plan on clerking (especially for a federal judge) or who expect to represent clients in federal court or in civil actions against government actors.

SPRG 2016: LAW JD 847 A1 , Jan 12th to Apr 19th 2016
Days Start End Credits Instructors Bldg Room
Tue,Thu 10:45 am 12:10 pm 3 Kristin Collins LAW 204
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