Ekow N. Yankah

Professor of Law


B.A. 1997, University of Michigan;
J.D. 2000, Columbia University;
B.C.L. 2002, Oxford University

Areas of Expertise

Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure


Ekow N. Yankah is a Professor of Law at Cardozo School of Law. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Columbia University School of Law and a B.C.L., a post-graduate law degree from Oxford University, where he was award a Lord Crewe Scholarship.  Professor Yankah’s scholarship explores the intersection of analytical jurisprudence, criminal law and political theory. His scholarship has appeared in a variety of books, law reviews and peer reviewed legal theory journals, including Law and Philosophy, Criminal Law and Philosophy, the Illinois Law Review and Criminal Justice Ethics. He has also been a distinguished visitor of the MacArthur Foundation. His current work and forthcoming book explores republican theories of political obligation grounded in civic duty and its relationship to law generally and criminal law in particular. Professor Yankah has been recognized as one of the Top 50 influential Law Professors under 50, has been awarded an Inspiration award by students at Cardozo and serves as the faculty advisor for a number of student organizations including the Cardozo Democrats, the Cardozo American Constitution Society student chapter and the Unemployment Action Center.


Prior to joining the Cardozo faculty, Professor Yankah was an assistant professor at University of Illinois where he was a member of the Law and Philosophy Program as well as the Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure Program. At Illinois, Professor Yankah was recognized by students with a special service award. Previously, he was an associate in complex commercial litigation at Boies, Schiller & Flexner in New York, where he represented Fortune 500 companies and high net-worth individuals in a variety of matters, including contract disputes and allegations of RICO violations.


Outside of the law school, Professor Yankah is active in Democratic politics. Professor Yankah is the Co-Chair of the nationally recognized New York Democratic Lawyer’s Counsel, the voting rights organization of the Democratic National Committee. In this role, Professor Yankah often lobbies and advises elected officials and the New York State Senate and Assembly on voter protection laws and strategies to ensure every eligible voter has the opportunity to vote. Professor Yankah has worked in roles as varied as individual poll watching to coordinating multi-state voter protection strategies in the election of Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Professor Yankah also serves on the Executive Board of the Innocence Project and American Constitution Society’s (ACS) New York Chapter. His opinion pieces have appeared in, among other places, The New York Times and The Huffington Post.




Republican Responsibility in Criminal Law  _Crim. Law and Phil. _ (forthcoming 2013)


Political Obligations as Shield and Bond  _ Const. Comm. _ (forthcoming 2013)


Policing Ourselves: Republican Views on Policing and Law Abiding. _ Fordham Urban L. Journal _ (forthcoming 2013) (invited comment in response to Jeffrey Fagan)

Legal Vices and Civic Virtue.  7 Crim. Law and Phil.  61 (2012)


Reprinted in Aristotle and the Philosophy of Law: Theory, Practice and Justice (Ius Gentinum: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice) (Eds. Liesbeth Huppes-Cluysenaer & Nuno M.M.S. Coelho) (forthcoming 2013)


When Justice Can’t be Done: The Obligation to Govern and Rights in the State of Terror.  31 Law and Phil. 643 (2012)

Book Review: Crime, Freedom and Civic Bonds: Arthur Ripstein’s Force and Freedom. 6 Crim. Law and Phil. 255 (2012)


Liberal Virtue in Law, Virtue and Justice (Alalia Amaya and Ho Hock Lai eds.; Oxford: Hart Publications) (with reply by Anthony Duff) (2011)


A Paradox in Overcriminalization. 14 New Criminal Law Review 1 (2011)


Book Review: Peter de Marneffe, Liberalism and Prostitution, in Notre Dame Philosophical Review (2010)


Virtue’s Domain. 2009 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1167 (2009)


The Law of Duty and the Virtue of Justice.  27 Crim. Just. Ethics 67 (2008) (symposium including Anthony Duff, Jeff McMahan, Andrew Von Hirsch and Andrew Ashworth; reply by George Fletcher)


The Force of Law: The Role of Coercion in Legal Normativity.  42 U. Rich. L. Rev. 1195 (2008)


Good Guys and Bad Guys: Punishing Character, Equality and the Irrelevance of Moral Character to Criminal Punishment.  25 Cardozo L. Rev. 1019 (2004)


In Progress


The Sovereign and the Republic: A Republican View of Political Obligation


Legal Hypocrisy


Insufficiently Hard-Hearted: Moral Virtue as the Basis of Paternalism


Republicanism and the Rule of Law


Rescuing Republicanism: Civic Duties and Liberal Rights

Rawlsian Conjecture, Secular Communication and Exclusion


The Right to Condemn


The Second-Person Point of View, Rights and Child Criminals