College of Law

Rebecca E. Zietlow

Rebecca E. Zietlow

Interim Dean, Distinguished University Professor, and Charles W. Fornoff Professor of Law and Values

Office: LC 2000A
Campus Phone: 419.530.2379; Fax: 419.530.7911

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Rebecca Zietlow is interim dean, Distinguished University Professor, and the Charles W. Fornoff Professor of Law and Values at The University of Toledo College of Law, where she teaches constitutional law, federal courts, and constitutional litigation.

In 2020, Zietlow was elected a fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She received the University's Creative and Scholarly Activity Award in 2018 and the UToledo Outstanding Faculty Research and Scholarship Award in 2012. She formerly served as chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Constitutional Law and its Section on Women and Legal Education.

Professor Zietlow's scholarly interest is in the study of the Reconstruction Era, including the meaning and history of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. Professor Zietlow is also an expert on constitutional theory, examining constitutional interpretation outside of the courts. Her most recent book, The Forgotten Emancipator: James Mitchell Ashley and the Ideological Origins of Reconstruction was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. Her first book, Enforcing Equality: Congress, the Constitution, and the Protection of Individual Rights (NYU Press 2006), studies the history of congressional protection of rights, and the implications of that history for constitutional theory. Her work has been published in the Columbia Law Review, Boston University Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, Florida Law Review, the Wake Forest Law Journal, and the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, amongst other publications.

Zietlow received her B.A. from Barnard College and her J.D. from Yale Law School.


The Forgotten Emancipator: James Mitchell Ashley and the Ideological Origins of Reconstruction (Cambridge University Press 2017)

Enforcing Equality: Congress, The Constitution, and the Protection of Individual Rights (New York University Press 2006)

Book Chapters

"The Other Citizenship Clause," in The Greatest and the Grandest Act: The Civil Rights Act of 1866 from Reconstruction to Today, Christian Samito, Ed. (Southern Illinois University Press 2018)

"The Constitutional Right to Organize," in Vulnerability and the Legal Organization of Work, Martha Albertson Fineman & Jonathan Fineman, Eds. (Routledge Press 2017)

"Fourteenth Amendment: Citizenship Clause" and "Federal Powers, Civil Rights" in Encyclopedia of American Governance (Cengage Learning, Inc.) (Forthcoming)

"Rights of Belonging for Women," 1 Indiana Journal of Law & Social Equality 64 (2013), reprinted in Tracy A. Thomas, Ed., Women and the Law (West 2014)

"The Promise of Congressional Enforcement of the Thirteenth Amendment," in The Promises of Liberty: Thirteenth Amendment Abolitionism and Contemporary Context, Alexander Tsesis, Ed. (Columbia University Press 2010)

"The Auto-Lite Strike and the Fight Against Wage Slavery" (with James Gray Pope), 38 U. Tol. L. Rev. 839 (2007), reprinted in American Labor Struggles and Law Histories, Kenneth M. Casebeer, ed. (Carolina Academic Press 2011)

"State Sovereignty and States' Rights," in The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2d Ed., 2005)


The New Peonage: Liberty and Precarity for Workers in the Gig Economy, 55 Wake Forest Law Review (Forthcoming 2020)

'Where Do We Go From Here?' Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Workers' Rights, 14 Harvard Law & Policy Review 48 (2020)

Cooper Supremacy, 41 University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review 285 (2019)

Slavery, Liberty, and the Right to Contract, 19 Nevada Law Journal 447 (2018)

Teaching Congressional Enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment, 62 St. Louis U. L. Rev. 655 (2018)

James Ashley, the Great Strategist of the Thirteenth Amendment, 15 Georgetown University Journal of Law and Policy 265 (2016)

A Positive Right to Free Labor, 39 Seattle University Law Review 859 (2016)

Rights of Belonging for Women, 1 Indiana Journal of Law & Social Equality 64 (2013)

James Ashley's Thirteenth Amendment, 112 Columbia Law Review 1697 (2012)

The Ideological Origins of the Thirteenth Amendment, 49 Houston Law Review 393 (2012)

Popular Originalism? The Tea Party Movement and Constitutional Theory, 63 Florida Law Review 483 (2012)

The Political Thirteenth Amendment, 71 Maryland Law Review 283 (2011)

Democratic Constitutionalism and the Affordable Care Act, 72 Ohio State Law Journal1367 (2011)

Free at Last! Anti-Subordination and the Thirteenth Amendment, 90 Boston University Law Review 255 (2010)

The Rights of Citizenship: Two Framers, Two Amendments, 11 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law 1269 (2009)

The Judicial Restraint of the Warren Court (and Why it Matters), 69 Ohio State Law Journal 255 (2008)

Congressional Enforcement of the Rights of Citizenship, 56 Drake Law Review 1015 (2008)

The New Parity Debate: Congress and Rights of Belonging, 73 University of Cincinnati Law Review 1347 (2005) (with Denise C. Morgan)

To Secure These Rights: Congress, Courts and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, 57 Rutgers Law Review 945 (2005)

Juriscentrism and the Original Meaning of Section Five, 13 Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review 485 (2004)

Congressional Enforcement of Civil Rights and Bingham’s Theory of Citizenship, 36 Akron Law Review 717 (2003)

Federalism's Paradox: The Spending Power and Waiver of Sovereign Immunity, 37 Wake Forest Law Review 141 (2002)

Belonging, Protection and Equality: The Neglected Citizenship Clause and the Limits of Federalism, 62 University of Pittsburgh Law Review 281 (2000)

Beyond the Pronoun: Toward an Anti-Subordinating Method Of Process, 10 Texas Journal of Women and the Law 1 (2000)

Exploring a Substantive Approach to Equal Justice Under Law, 28 New Mexico Law Review 411 (1998)

Writing Scholarship While You Practice Law, 3 Michigan Journal of Race and the Law 589 (1998); reprinted in 5 Michigan Journal of Race and the Law 767 (2000) and 7 Michigan Journal of Race and the Law 511 (2002)

Giving Substance to Process: Countering the Due Process Counterrevolution, 75 Denver University Law Review 9 (1997)

Two Wrongs Don't Add Up To Rights: The Importance of Preserving Due Process In Light Of Recent Welfare Reform Measures 45 American University Law Review 1111 (1996)

Book Reviews

Review of  Laura Weinrib, The Taming of Free Speech, America’s Civil Liberties Compromise, The American Historical Review 123: 604 (2018)

Review of  Amanda Hollis-Brusky, Ideas with Consequences: the Federalist Society and the Conservative Counterrevolution, Law & Society Review 524 (May 2016)

Review of  Justin Buckley Dyer, Slavery, Abortion, and the Politics of Constitutional Meaning, Journal of American History (2014)

Review of  Gerard Magliocca, American Founding Son: John Bingham and the Invention of the Fourteenth Amendment, Law and History Review (2014)

Review of  Justin Wert, Habeas Corpus in America: The Politics of Individual Rights, American Historical Review (2011)

Patterns of Inequality – Paradigms for Equality (Review of  Gender Equality: Dimensions of Women’s Equal Citizenship, Edited by Linda McClain and Joanna Grossman; Ayelet Schachar, The Birthright Lottery: Citizenship and Global Inequality and Deborah Hellman, When is Discrimination Wrong?), 45 Tulsa Law Review 863 (2010)

Belonging and Empowerment: A New 'Civil Rights' Paradigm Based on Lessons of the Past (Review of  The Lost Promise of Civil Rights by Risa Goluboff ), 25 Constitutional Commentary 353 (2009)

Last Updated: 7/18/23