Heidi Kitrosser

  • Robins Kaplan Professor of Law
  • University of California–Los Angeles, B.A.
  • Yale Law School, J.D.

Office: 334
Mondale Hall, 229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Professor Heidi Kitrosser joined the University of Minnesota Law School faculty in 2006. She was a visiting professor at the Law School from 2005-06, and an assistant professor at Brooklyn Law School from 2003-2006.

Kitrosser is an expert on the constitutional law of federal government secrecy and on separation of powers and free speech law more broadly. She has written, spoken, and consulted widely on these topics. Her book, Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution, was published in 2015 by the University of Chicago Press. It was awarded the 2014 IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law / Roy C. Palmer Civil Liberties Prize. Kitrosser’s articles have appeared in many venues, including Supreme Court Review, Georgetown Law Journal, UCLA Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, and Constitutional Commentary. In 2017, she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to begin work on a book project on U.S. government whistleblowers.

Kitrosser is on the steering committee of a new initiative – the Free Expression Legal Network (FELN) spearheaded by Yale’s Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic and the Reporter’s Committee for Freedom of the Press. FELN is a network of law school clinics, academics, and practitioners (including nonprofits) across the country that seeks to promote and protect free speech, free press, and the flow of information. Kitrosser also sits on the boards of the Minnesota Coalition for Government Information (MNCOGI) and Public Record Media.

Kitrosser graduated from UCLA in 1992, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in political science. She received her J.D. degree from Yale Law School in 1996. During her third year at Yale, she won the Harlan Fiske Stone Prize for best oral argument in the Morris Tyler Moot Court of Appeals.

Following law school, she clerked for Judge William Rea on the District Court for the Central District of California and for Judge Judith Rogers on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. She also worked as an associate at the Washington, D.C., office of Jenner & Block.

For more information, download PDF iconProfessor Kitrosser’s curriculum vitae.


Constitutional Law

First Amendment



  • Reclaiming Accountability: Transparency, Executive Power, and the U.S. Constitution (University of Chicago Press, 2015)

Journal Articles

  • A House Built on Sand: The Constitutional Infirmity of Espionage Act Prosecutions for Leaking to the Press, 19 First Amendment Law Review 153 (2021) David Schulz
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  • Like “Nobody Has Ever Seen Before”: Precedent and Privilege in the Trump Era, 95 Chicago-Kent Law Review 519 (2021)
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  • Media Leak Prosecutions and the Biden-Harris Administration: What Lies Ahead?, 2021 University of Illinois Law Review Online 121 (2021)
  • On Public Employees and Judicial Buck-Passing: The Respective Roles of Statutory and Constitutional Protections for Government Whistleblowers, 94 Notre Dame Law Review 1699 (2019)
  • Accountability in the Deep State, 65 UCLA Law Review 1532 (2018)
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  • Public Employee Speech and Magarian’s Dynamic Diversity, 95 Washington University Law Review 1405 (2018)
  • Free Speech and National Security Bootstraps, 86 Fordham Law Review 509 (2017)  
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  • Free Speech, Higher Education, and the PC Narrative, 101 Minnesota Law Review 1987 (2017)  
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  • Secret Law and the Snowden Revelations: A Response to The Future of Foreign Intelligence: Privacy and Surveillance in A Digital Age, by Laura K. Donohue, 52 New England Law Review 5 (2017)
  • The Shadow of Executive Privilege, 15 The Forum 547 (2017)
  • “Trust Me” and Transparency Do Not Mix, 2017 University of Illinois Law Review Online 20
  • Interpretive Modesty, 104 Georgetown Law Journal 459 (2016)
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  • The Special Value of Public Employee Speech, 2015 Supreme Court Review 301 (2016)
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  • Leak Prosecutions and the First Amendment: New Developments and a Closer Look at the Feasibility of Protecting Leakers, 56 William & Mary Law Review 1221 (2015)
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  • Free Speech Aboard the Leaky Ship of State: Calibrating First Amendment Protections for Leakers of Classified Information, 6 Journal of National Security Law & Policy 409 (2013)
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  • Scientific Integrity: The Perils and Promise of White House Administration, 79 Fordham Law Review 2395 (2011)
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  • What If Daniel Ellsberg Hadn’t Bothered?, 45 Indiana Law Review 89 (2011)
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  • It Came From Beneath the Twilight Zone: Wiretapping and Article II Imperialism, 88 Texas Law Review 1401 (2010)
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  • National Security and the Article II Shell Game, 26 Constitutional Commentary 483 (2010)
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  • Supremely Opaque: Accountability, Transparency, and Presidential Supremacy, 5 University of St. Thomas Journal of Law and Public Policy 62 (2010)
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  • Accountability and Administrative Structure, 45 Willamette Law Review 607 (2009)
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  • The Accountable Executive, 93 Minnesota Law Review 1741 (2009)
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  • Classified Information Leaks and Free Speech, 2008 University of Illinois Law Review 881 (2008), reprinted in First Amendment Law Handbook, 2008-09 ed. (Rodney A. Smolla, ed., Thomson Reuters/West, 2008)
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  • Congressional Oversight of National Security Activities: Improving Information Funnels, 29 Cardozo Law Review 1049 (2008)
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  • “Macro-Transparency” as Structural Directive: A Look at the NSA Surveillance Controversy, 91 Minnesota Law Review 1163 (2007)
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  • Secrecy and Separated Powers: Executive Privilege Revisited, 92 Iowa Law Review 489 (2007)
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  • Containing Unprotected Speech, 57 Florida Law Review 843 (2005)
  • Secrecy in the Immigration Courts and Beyond: Considering the Right to Know in the Administrative State, 39 Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review 95 (2004), reprinted in 25 Immigration and Nationality Law Review 193 (2004))
  • From Marshall McLuhan to Anthropomorphic Cows: Communicative Manner and the First Amendment, 96 Northwestern University Law Review 1339 (2002)
  • Meaningful Consent: Toward a New Generation of Statutory Rape Laws, 4 Virginia Journal of Social Policy and the Law 287 (1997)

Book Reviews

  • Book Review, 131 Political Science Quarterly: PSQ 876 (2016) (reviewing Jason Ross Arnold, Secrecy in the Sunshine Era: The Promise and Failures of U.S. Open Government Laws (University Press of Kansas, 2014))
  • Book Review, 6 International Dialogue 142 (2016) (reviewing Whistleblowers, Leaks, and the Media: The First Amendment and National Security (Paul Rosenzweig, Timothy J. McNulty & Ellen Shearer, eds., American Bar Association, 2015))

Entries in Reference Works

  • Globe Newspaper Co. v. Superior Court (1982), in Encyclopedia of the First Amendment 517 (John R. Vile, David L. Hudson Jr. & David Schultz, eds., CQ Press, 2009)
  • Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court of California (1984) (1986), in Encyclopedia of the First Amendment 873 (John R. Vile, David L. Hudson Jr. & David Schultz, eds., CQ Press, 2009)
  • Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Virginia (1980), in Encyclopedia of the First Amendment 930 (John R. Vile, David L. Hudson Jr. & David Schultz, eds., CQ Press, 2009)
  • United States v. Eichman (1990), in Encyclopedia of the First Amendment 1096 (John R. Vile, David L. Hudson Jr. & David Schultz, eds., CQ Press, 2009)

Editorials, Commentary & Letters

  • Presidential Secrecy and The NSA Spying Controversy, JURIST (Feb. 27, 2006) (op-ed)

Other Publications

  • Panel Two: The Press, Whistleblowers, and Government Information Leaks, 19 First Amendment Law Review 253 (2021) (panelist)
  • Presidential Administration: How Implementing Unitary Executive Theory Can Undermine Accountability, 40:3 Administrative & Regulatory Law News 4 (Spr. 2015)
  • Rethinking Presidential Supremacy, 57 Wayne Law Review 227 (2011) (transcript of comments on executive power in the wake of 9/11)
  • Reclaiming Skepticism: Lessons from Guantanamo, 35 William Mitchell Law Review 5067 (2009) (invited contribution to National Security Forum issue)
  • Constitutional Interpretation and the “World Out There”: An Introduction to the Symposium, 72 Brooklyn Law Review 1 (2006) (symposium issue, Justice Blackmun and Judicial Biography: A Conversation With Linda Greenhouse)
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  • A Discourse: Presidential Powers in Time of War, Perspectives: The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Law School 35-41 (Spring 2006) (exchange) Michael Paulsen & Dale Carpenter
  • Revisiting Executive Privilege, Perspectives: The Magazine of the University of Minnesota Law School 31-34 (Spring 2006)


  • Restoring the Rule of Law: Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 110th Cong., 2d Sess. (Sept. 16, 2008) (testimony)
  • Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government: Hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 110th Cong., 2d Sess. (Apr. 30, 2008) (testimony)
    | SSRN

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P: 612-625-5000

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