Libby S. Adler
Professor of Law and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Northeastern University, JD 1994
Harvard University, LLM 1998
Professor Adler holds a joint appointment with the School of Law and the College of Social Sciences and Humanities. She teaches Constitutional Law, Sexuality, Gender and the Law, Family Law and Administrative Law. Professor Adler has written extensively on sexuality, gender, family and children, including foster care, and draws heavily from queer and critical theory. Her book, Gay Priori: A Queer Critical Legal Studies Approach to Law Reform, was published in April 2018 by Duke University Press. She is also a co-editor of the casebook Mary Joe Frug’s Women and the Law (4th ed.), and has written about contemporary legal issues arising out of Nazism.
Professor Adler has served as a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, where she taught Women and the Law, and at the University of Frankfurt, where she taught a course on contemporary legal fallout from the Nazi labor program. She was awarded Northeastern Law’s inaugural Racial Justice Faculty Fellowship in 2021 and the Humanities Center at Northeastern University College of Social Sciences and Humanities selected her as a 2021-2022 “Reckoning” Fellow. Professor Adler received the Northeastern University Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007-2008.
Prior to joining the permanent faculty, Professor Adler served Northeastern as a visiting professor in 1999-2000 and as a part-time lecturer in 1998-1999, while also a visiting researcher and graduate fellow at Harvard Law School. In the 1990s, she practiced as a policy attorney for the Massachusetts child support enforcement agency, drafting legislation and regulations.
Fields of Expertise
- Administrative Law
- Constitutional Law
- Family Law
- Sexuality and Gender Identity
- Governing the Terrain Called Beauty: Searching Cuba for Alternative Avenues to LGBTQ Law Reform (forthcoming).
- Gay Priori: A Queer Critical Legal Studies Approach to Law Reform (Duke University Press, 2018).
- Mary Joe Frug’s Women and the Law, 4th edition (Foundation Press, 2008) (co-editor).
- “Inconceivable: Status, Contract, and the Search for a Legal Basis for Gay & Lesbian Parenthood,” Penn State Law Review 324 (2018).
- “Who are the People in Your Gayborhood?: A Reponse to Katherine Franke’s Wedlocked,” Boston University Law Review Annex (2016)
- “Huckabee, the Holocaust, and the Politics of Fear,”WGBH News (August 10, 2015).
- “Sex as a team sport: a reaction to Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men,” 93 Boston University Law Review Annex 1 (2013).
- “Of Cheerios and Sequined Heels: Response to Darren Rosenblum’s Unsex Mothering: Toward a Culture of New Parenting,”Harvard Journal of Law and Gender (2012).
- “Just the Facts: The Perils of Expert Testimony and Findings of Fact in Gay Rights Litigation,” 7 Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left 1 (2011).
- “Gay Rights and Lefts: Rights Critique and Distributive Analysis for Real Law Reform,” 46 Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 1 (Amicus Online Supplement) (2011).
- “T: Appending Transgender Equal Rights to Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Equal Rights,” 19 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 595 (2010).
- “The Gay Agenda,” 16 Michigan Journal of Gender & Law 147 (2009).
- “The Dignity of Sex,” 17 UCLA Women's Law Journal 1 (2008).
- “The Future of Sodomy,” 32 Fordham Urban Law Journal 197 (2005).
- “Rage and Critique: One Jewish Girl’s Story,” 1 Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left 1 (2005).
- Book Review: “Civil Unions and Civic Wars: Jonathan Goldberg-Hiller, The Limits to Union: Same-Sex Marriage and the Politics of Civil Rights, 2004,” 11 Gay & Lesbian Quarterly 4 (2005).
- “California’s Holocaust Victim Insurance Relief Act and American Preemption Doctrine,” 4 German Law Journal 1193 (2003).
- “An Essay on the Production of Youth Prostitution,” 55 Maine Law Review 191 (2003).
- “The Forgetfulness of Noblesse: A Critique of the Foundation to Compensate Slave and Forced Laborers of the Third Reich,” 39 Harvard Journal on Legislation 1 (2002) (also in NS-Zwangsarbeit: Erinnerung und Verantwortung/NS-Forced Labor: Remembrance and Responsibility 333, ed. Zumbansen, 2002) (co-author).
- “The Meanings of Permanence: A Critical Analysis of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997,” 38 Harvard Journal on Legislation 1 (2001).
- “A Short Essay on the Baring of Breasts,” 23 Harvard Women’s Law Journal 219 (2000).
- “Federalism and Family,” 8 Columbia Journal Gender & Law 197 (1999).
- “From Contamination to Congratulation: The Discursive and Legal Careers of the Homosexual in the U.S. and Cuba.” In Enticements: Queer Legal Studies, eds. J. Fischel and B. Cossman (NYU Press, forthcoming).
- “Distributive Justice for LGBTQ People.” In Oxford Encyclopedia of Politics, ed. B. Perreau (Oxford University Press, 2020).
- “You Play, You Pay: The Making of the Child Support Enforcement Machine.” In Governance Feminism: A Handbook, (Minnesota Press, 2019).
- “Life at the Corner of Poverty and Sexual Abjection: Lewdness, Indecency, and LGBTQ Youth.” In Research Handbook on Gender, Sexuality and Law, ed. Chris Ashford (part of Edward Elgar’s Law and Society series, 2019).
- “Teaching Sexuality and Gender as Distributional Issues.” In Vulnerable Populations and Transformative Law Teaching: A Critical Reader, ed. R. Aldana et al. (Carolina Press, 2011).
- “Prostitution, Child.” In The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion, ed. R. Shweder (University of Chicago Press, 2009).
- “Fifty Years On, Title IX’s Legacy Includes Its Durability,” The New York Times (June 23, 2022).
- “Codifying Roe: Here Are the Constitutional Challenges a Federal Law Legalizing Abortion May Face, Experts Say,” News@Northeastern (June 1, 2022).
- “Half of Us Could Lose Abortion Access if Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade,” News@Northeastern (December 3, 2021).
- “Here’s What’s Next for the Alabama Abortion Law,” News@Northeastern (May 17, 2019).
- “Adler Calls for LGBT Movement to Change Course in New Book, Gay Priori,” News Announcement (April 27, 2018).
- “The Unclear Legal Impact of Trump's Ban on Transgender People in the Military,” News@Northeastern (July 28, 2017).
- “3Qs: What's Next for Gay Rights in America?,” News@Northeastern (February 19, 2014).