Favorites ()

Robert Kahn


  • Education
  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
    J.D., New York University Law School
    B.A., Columbia University

  • Expertise
  • Memory Laws, Comparative Hate Speech, Mask Laws, Legal Writing, Privacy Law

Born and bred in the Boston suburbs, Rob Kahn graduated Columbia University with a B.A. in History. The summer after his junior year Kahn studied in Madrid, Spain. Kahn then attended NYU Law School, where was a member of the Order of the Coif, as an editorial board member of The Commentator, NYU's law student newspaper, and a Note and Comment Editor for the N.Y.U. Review of Law and Social Change. After law school, Kahn clerked for Magistrate-Judge Leonard I. Bernikow of the Southern District of New York and litigated social security disability cases with Harlem Legal Services.

Kahn also has a PhD in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University, where he studied comparative law and politics with an emphasis on comparative criminal procedure. In 2004 he published Holocaust Denial and the Law: A Comparative Study. The book, based on Kahn's dissertation, examines how differing forms of criminal procedure (adversarial vs. inquisitorial) helped or hindered the prosecution of Holocaust denial. Kahn's subsequent research has focused on hate speech directed at Muslims (including the Danish Cartoons), defamation of religions, cross-burning and memory laws.

Between 2017 to 2019 Kahn’s scholarship focused on memory laws and he attended several conferences sponsored by MELA (Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspective). More recently, Kahn has focused on mask wearing (Klan masks, burqas and COVID masks). His current research focuses on two areas: (1) the connection between memory laws, critical race theory bans, and Holocaust denial laws; and (2) a critique of face authoritarianism – the idea that nation states have the right to tell human subjects when to cover or adorn their faces.

Kahn has taught legal writing for two decades. Since joining the faculty in 2007, Kahn has taught Lawyering Skills I and II, Lawyering Skills for LLM Students, Islam and Civil Liberties, Comparative Hate Speech, and Privacy Law.

Kahn lives in St. Paul where he closely follows the fate of the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and New England Patriots.

Read Kahn's scholarship on SSRN

The Mask Wars and Social Control: Lessons from the 1927 Unveiling Campaign in Soviet Uzbekistan, 53 CAL. WESTERN J. OF INT’L LAW 161 (Fall 2022).

COVID Masks as Semiotic Expressions of Hate, 35 INT’L J. OF SEMIOTICS & L. 2392 (2022).

Masks, Culture Wars, and Public Health Expertise: Confessions of a Mask “Expert,” 17 ST. THOMAS L.J. 900 (Spring 2022).

Masks, Face Veil Bans and “Living Together” – What’s Privacy Got to Do with It?, PUB. GOVERNANCE, ADMIN. AND FIN. L. REV. 7-20 (2021)

“My Face, My Choice” – Mask Mandates, Bans and Burqas in the COVID Age, 14 N.Y.U. J. OF L. AND LIBERTY 651 (2021).

Denial, Memory Bans and Social Media in R. Weaver., M. Cole, S. Friedland, A. Koltay, D. Fairgrieve, and A. Rayouard eds., FREE SPEECH, PRIVACY AND MEDIA: COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVES (Carolina Academic Press, 2020).

The Long Road Back to Skokie: Returning the First Amendment to Mask Wearers, 28 BROOK. J. OF L. AND SOC. POL’Y 71 (2019).