Robert C. Blitt

Toms Foundation Distinguished Professor of Law
Robert C. Blitt
Contact Information
Law 272
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • International Law
  • Religious Freedom Law

Robert C. Blitt

Toms Foundation Distinguished Professor of Law

Robert C. Blitt is the Toms Foundation Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee College of Law. Professor Blitt joined the faculty as an associate professor in 2007 and was promoted to full professor in 2015. Before coming to Tennessee, Blitt served as International Law Specialist for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bi-partisan agency created by Congress to monitor freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief abroad. Prior to joining USCIRF, Professor Blitt spent over five years in the Middle East, where, among other things, he served with the Department of International Agreements in Israel’s Ministry of Justice, clerked for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, and directed projects at Physicians for Human Rights (Israel). In 2002, Professor Blitt was a Rabin Fellow for Peace and Tolerance at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Professor Blitt’s scholarship explores how international law norms apply to nonstate actors, including nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and intergovernmental organizations, and further, how these actors impact the development of international law. Professor Blitt’s current research projects include studying the movement of anti-constitutional ideas within the international system and exploring contemporary challenges to human rights norms and mechanisms. Among his writings, he has produced a detailed human rights analysis of Iraq’s 2005 constitution, as well as other articles assessing religion-state relations in predominantly Muslim states, the human rights implications of church-state relations in Russia, U.S. policy relating to international religious freedom, and efforts to entrench a global prohibition on blasphemy. His published writing is available through the Social Science Research Network (SSRN).

Professor Blitt has lectured and presented his research findings widely in the United States and abroad, including at international conferences in Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. He has published op-eds and been interviewed and quoted in national and international media outlets on subjects including blasphemy, church-state relations in Russia, the UN Commission of Inquiry for Gaza, the Arab Spring, defamation of religion, Iraq’s constitution, human rights and religion, and U.S. policies relating to detention and torture. Professor Blitt has also served as a peer reviewer for various academic journals and grant-making institutions, including the Journal of Law & Religion and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. His teaching areas include constitutional law and international law, with seminars on European Union Law, International Human Rights Law, and the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Professor Blitt is current co-chair of the American Society for International Law’s (ASIL) Southeast Region Interest Group and past co-chair of ASIL’s Human Rights Interest Group. He is an executive committee member of the American Association of Law Schools’ (AALS) Section on International Human Rights, a member of the Southeast Association of Law Schools (SEALS) Global Outreach Committee, a member of the International Academic Advisory Board for the Advanced Program on Religion and the Rule of Law at Oxford University, and an executive council member of the Tennessee Bar Association’s International Law & Practice Section. In addition, Professor Blitt is an affiliated faculty member in UT’s Religious Studies Department and the Department of Anthropology’s Disasters, Displacement and Human Rights Program, as well as a founding board member of the University of Tennessee’s Center for the Study of Social Justice and an advisory committee member for UT’s Program in Judaic Studies.

  • Education & Experience
  • Publications

LL.M., 2003, University of Toronto

J.D., 2000, University of Toronto

M.A., 2000, University of Toronto

B.A., magna cum laude, 1994, McGill University

Social Science Research Network (SSRN)

Full list of SSRN scholarly papers