Rachel D. Godsil

Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law

  • Degrees:

  • J.D., University of Michigan Law School
  • B.A., University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Contact:

  • rachel.godsil@shu.edu
  • Tel:  973-642-8957
  • SSRN Site link
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses:

  • Property
  • Zoning, Planning & Land Use Policy
  • Constitutional Law
  • Civil Rights

Rachel D. Godsil

Rachel D. Godsil

Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law

Rachel D. Godsil is the Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law.

Professor Godsil’s teaching and research interests include property, land use, environmental justice, education, and race.  Her recent property work focuses on the mortgage crisis and eminent domain as well as the intersection of race, poverty, and land use decisions.  After serving as the convener for the Obama campaign’s Urban and Metropolitan Policy Committee and an advisor to the Department of Housing and Urban Development transition team, Professor Godsil co-directed a report to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan entitled “Retooling HUD for a Catalytic  Federal Government.”

Professor Godsil is a co-founder and research director for a national consortium of social scientists and law professors focusing on the role of implicit bias in law and policy.  She is currently working on the link between stereotype threat and the success of students of color in law.  Professor Godsil also wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the National Parent Teacher Association in the Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District litigation at the Supreme Court.  She is the co-editor of AWAKENING FROM THE DREAM:  CIVIL RIGHTS UNDER SIEGE AND THE NEW STRUGGLE FOR EQUAL JUSTICE (Carolina Academic Press, 2005).

During law school, Professor Godsil served as the Executive Article Editor of the Michigan Law Review, was awarded the Henry M. Bates Memorial Award, and elected to the Order of the Coif. After graduation, she clerked for John M. Walker of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.  Professor Godsil was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  She was an Associate Counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, focusing on environmental justice, as well as an associate with Berle, Kass & Case and Arnold & Porter in New York City.

She joined Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000 and has been recognized for her teaching by being nominated for Professor of the Year in 2002 and 2003.  In 2003-2004, she was awarded the Researcher of the Year in Law by Seton Hall University.  During fall of 2007, Professor Godsil was a Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and she taught property at New York University Law School in spring 2009.



Preserving Autonomy in the Face of Gentrification, Brooklyn L. Review Symposium (forthcoming 2012)

A Multiciplity of Interests, Columbia Journal of Race and Law (2012)

Implicit Bias in the Courtroom, 59 U.C.L.A. L. Rev. 1184 (2012) (co-authored with Jerry Kang et al)

Protecting Status: The Mortgage Crisis, Eminent Domain, and the Ethic of Homeownership, Fordham L. Rev. (2008) (David V. Simunovich)

Race-Nuisance: The Politics of Law in the Jim Crow Era, 105 Mich. L. Rev. 505 (2006)

Viewing the Cathedral from Behind the Color Line: Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Environmental Racism, 54 Emory L. J. 1808 (2004)

Environmental Justice and the Integration Ideal, 59 NY L. J. 1109 (2004)

Expressivism, Empathy and Equality, 36 U. Mich. J.L. Ref. 247 (2003)

The Question of Risk: Incorporating Community Perceptions into Environmental Risk Assessments, 21 Fordham Urban L.J. 547 (1994) (with James Freeman)

Jobs, Trees, and Autonomy: The Convergence of the Environmental Justice Movement and Community Economic Development, 5 U. Md. J. Contemp. Legal Issues 25 (1993-94) (with James Freeman)

Note, Remedying Environmental Racism, 90 Mich. L. Rev. 394 (1991)


A View from the Gallery: Oral Argument in Fisher v. UT Austin, 21 Poverty & Race (November-December 2012)

Implicit Bias Insights as Preconditions to Structural Change, Poverty & Race (2011) (co-authored with John Powell)

Retooling HUD for a Catalytic Federal Government: A Report to Shaun Donovan (co-Project Director), Penn Institute for Urban Research (2009)


Awakening from the Dream: Civil Rights Under Siege and the New Struggle for Equal Justice, Carolina Academic Press (2005)

A Tale of Two Neighborhoods: Implicit Bias in Environmental Decision-Making, in Implicit Racial Bias in the Law (Cambridge University Press 2011)


Stuart Banner, How the Indians Lost Their Land: Law and Power on the Frontier, 27, pp 462-464, Cambridge: Harvard University Press (2009)

Michael J. Klarman 'From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality' Law and History Review, 25, pp 667-640, Cambridge U. Press (2007)