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Ozan Varol

Professor of Law

Legal Research Center 222
Legal Assistant:


To access Professor Varol’s personal website, click here.

Ozan Varol is a rocket scientist turned award-winning law professor and bestselling author. He teaches in the areas of constitutional law, criminal law and procedure, and comparative constitutional law. His recent scholarship has focused on constitutional transitions and constitutional design.

Professor Varol is the author of The Democratic Coup d’État (Oxford University Press 2017). The arguments in his book made headlines across the globe and were featured in various domestic and foreign media outlets, including Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, BBC, CNN, Washington Post, Slate, and Foreign Policy.

He has also authored more than a dozen book chapters or law review articles published in the California Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, UC Davis Law Review, Iowa Law Review (twice), Harvard International Law Journal, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, Virginia Journal of International Law, American Journal of Comparative Law (peer-reviewed), and the International Journal of Constitutional Law (peer-reviewed), among many other academic journals.

Professor Varol’s articles have received numerous scholarly recognitions.  He is the only scholar to twice win the American Society of Comparative Law’s paper competition for younger scholars. His article, Temporary Constitutions, was selected as one of the best three papers in the AALS Scholarly Papers Competition, which is widely considered the most prestigious in legal education, and awarded Honorable Mention. In 2014 and in 2016, his articles won the Federalist Society’s Young Legal Scholars Paper Competition. In addition, two of his articles were identified in separate reviews by Prof. Mark Tushnet (Harvard) and Prof. Charles Shanor (Emory) as “one of the best works of recent scholarship relating to constitutional law.”

Professor Varol serves as a legal consultant and expert witness on Turkish law to various private and government entities.

Before entering academia, Professor Varol served as a law clerk for the Honorable Carlos T. Bea of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.  He practiced law at Keker & Van Nest LLP in San Francisco, where he worked on complex civil and white-collar criminal defense litigation.

Professor Varol received his law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law, where he graduated first in his class, earning the highest grade point average in the history of the law school since the introduction of the 4-point grading scale. During law school, he also served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Iowa Law Review. He has a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Cornell University, where he was a College Scholar and a member of the operations team for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers mission. Professor Varol is a native of Istanbul, Turkey, and lived there for 17 years before coming to the United States for his undergraduate studies.

Specialty Areas and Course Descriptions

Academic Credentials

  • BA 2003 Cornell University
  • JD 2007 University of Iowa, with highest distinction



  • The Democratic Coup d’État (Oxford University Press 2017) (monograph)

Book Chapters

  • Stealth Authoritarianism in Turkey, in Constitutional Democracies in Crisis (Mark Graber, Sanford Levinson, and Mark Tushnet eds.) (Oxford University Press 2018)
  • Constitutional Performance in Transitions from Military Rule, in Assessing Constitutional Performance (Tom Ginsburg & Aziz Huq eds.) (Cambridge University Press 2016)
  • Military Involvement in the Shaping of the Constitutional Order: Turkey, in Constitutionalism in Context (David Law ed.) (forthcoming Cambridge University Press 2019)

Works Published As Part of a Collection

  • Alien Citizens: Kurds and Citizenship in the Turkish Constitution57 Virginia Journal of International 769 (2018).
  • Structural Rights, 105 Georgetown Law Journal (2017).  SSRN LINK
  • An Empirical Analysis of Judicial Transformation in Turkey, 65 American Journal of Comparative Law 187 (2017).  SSRN LINK
  • Constitutional Stickiness, 49 UC Davis Law Review 899 (2016).  SSRN LINK
  • Remedying Constitutional Stickiness, 37 National Journal of Constitutional Law 119 (2017),

  • Stealth Authoritarianism, 100 Iowa Law Review 1673 (2015) SSRN LINK
  • Temporary Constitutions, 102 California Law Review 409 (2014). SSRN LINK
  • Revolutionary Humor, 23 Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal  555 (2014). SSRN LINK
  • The Turkish “Model” of Civil-Military Relations, 11 International Journal of Constitutional Law 727 (2013). SSRN LINK
  • The Military as the Guardian of Constitutional Democracy, 51 Columbia Journal of Transnational Law 547 (2013). SSRN LINK
  • The Democratic Coup d’État, 53 Harvard International Law Journal 292 (2012).  SSRN LINK
  • The Origins and Limits of Originalism: A Comparative Study, 44 Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 1239 (2011).  SSRN LINK
  • Strict in Theory, But Accommodating in Fact?, 75 Missouri Law Review 1243 (2010).  SSRN LINK
  •  Is Secularism Possible in a Majority-Muslim Country?: The Turkish Example, 42 University of Texas International Law Journal 1 (2008) (with Adrien K. Wing).  SSRN LINK
  • Substantive Due Process, Plenary-Power Doctrine, and Minimum Contacts:  Arguments for Overcoming the Obstacle of Asserting Personal Jurisdiction over Terrorists Under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 92 Iowa Law Review 297 (2006) (student note).