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M. Isabel Medina

Ferris Distinguished Professor of Law


J.D., Tulane University

M.A/M.F.A., University of New Orleans

B.A., Monash University (Australia)


  • College of Law
  • Law


  • Civil Rights
  • Constitutional Law
  • Immigration Law


M. Isabel Medina, Ferris Family Distinguished Professor of Law, serves as Chair of the University Senate.  She was appointed to the Hispanic National Bar Association's Commission on Latinas for 2024. She joined Loyola University New Orleans College of Law after practicing law with Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. Upon graduating from Tulane Law School, she clerked for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. She was a managing editor of the Tulane Law Review. She teaches constitutional law, race and gender bias law, and immigration and citizenship law, emphasizing experiential and online learning methodologies. She has visited at the University of Athens (Fulbright Scholar), Tulane Law School, Villanova University School of Law and Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

She served as co-chair of the Constitutional Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools in 2014 and is a past chair of the Immigration Law Section. She has organized a number of conferences on gender-based violence, constitutional and immigration issues. She has served as Chair of the Loyola University Senate. She is the 2018 Dux Academicus Award recipient, awarded by Loyola University New Orleans for excellence in teaching, superiority in scholarship and outstanding general contribution to the University and the community at large. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute.

She writes in the area of race, gender, immigration, and constitutional law, and her articles have appeared in the Connecticut Law Review, the George Mason Law Review, the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, the Indiana Law Journal, the Louisiana Law Review, and the Harvard Latinx Law Review. Her publications include a chapter on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's jurisprudence on citizenship and immigration law in The Jurisprudential Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (NYU Press 2023), Migration Law in the United States (Kluwer 2d. ed. 2021) and Loyola University New Orleans College of Law: A History (LSU Press 2016).  She contributed a feminist rewriting of the US Supreme Court case Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales in Linda Berger, Bridget Crawford, and Kathy Stanchi, editors, U.S. Feminist Judgments (Cambridge University Press 2016). 

Classes Taught

  • Constitutional Law
  • Employment and Gender Discrimination Law
  • Immigration Law



In Pursuit of Social Justice: Loyola University New Orleans College of Law 1914-2014, Producer and Writer (2014) available for viewing at

Books, Monographs and Book Chapters

Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Impact on Citizenship and Immigration Law: Through Her Opinions, in The Jurisprudential Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, edited by Ryan Vacca and Ann Bartow (NYU Press 2023).

“Town of Castle Rock versus Gonzales,” (book chapter) in Linda Berger, Bridget Crawford, and Kathy Stanchi, editors, US FEMINIST JUDGMENTS (Cambridge University Press 2016).


MIGRATION LAW IN THE USA (Wolters Kluwer 2d ed. 2021, 1st ed. 2016).


Araiza, Haddon, Roberts, Medina, SUPPLEMENT, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: CASES, HISTORY AND DIALOGUES (Lexis-Nexis 2009, 2010).

United States, In INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF LAWS: MIGRATION LAW, edited by Dirk Vanheule. Alphen aan den Rijn, NL: Kluwer Law International, 2010.


“A Bird’s Eye View of the Right to Counsel for Immigrants Detained in the La Salle Detention Center in Jena, Louisiana,” June 11, 2019 available at

“Perspectives on Touchings,” April 2, 2019, Feminist Law Professors Blog available at

“Symposium on Kerry v. Din:  When it comes to immigration neither marriage nor citizenship matter,” available at


"External and Internal Migration," 33 Southern California Review of Law and Social Justice (forthcoming 2024).

“Reflections on the DACA Cases in the Supreme Court—The ‘Illusion of Freedom,’” 99 North Carolina Law Review Forum 101-124 (2020).

Roundtable on Intersectionality and Strengths and Challenges in Leadership,”  Fourth National People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference (NPOC 2019), 23 Journal of Law and Social Change 51-58 (2020).

“Arriving Aliens, Custody, and Interagency Determinations Post Jennings,” 23-20 Bender’s Immigr. Bull. 01 (2018).

Silencing Talk about Race:  Why Arizona’s Prohibition of Ethnic Studies Violates Equality,” 45 Hastings Constitutional law Quarterly  101- 147 (2017).

“In Search of the Nation of Immigrants:  Balancing the Federal State Divide,” 20 Harvard Latinx Law Review 1 (2017).

“The Missing and Misplaced History in Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder – Through the Lens of the Louisiana Experience with Jim Crow and Voting Rights in the 1890s,” 33 Mississippi College Law Review 201 (2014).

“Derivative Citizenship: What’s marriage, citizenship, sex, sexual orientation, race, and class got to do with it?” 28 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 391 (2014).

“Symposium: Searching for Equality: Narratives of Diversity from Louisiana,” 14 Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law 459 (2013).

“Symposium: Ethical Issues in Immigration Law, Practice, and Policy: The Challenges of Facilitating Effective Legal Defense in Deportation Proceedings: Allowing Nonlawyer Practice of Law Through Accredited Representatives in Removals,” 53 South Texas Law Review 459 (2012).

Co-authored with Lorio, Kathryn, Moore, Lawrence W., and Lacoste, Natasha, “Making History—Loyola University New Orleans College of Law Welcomes Dean Maria Pabon Lopez,” 58 Loyola Law Review 1 (2012).

“Symposium on Federalism at Work: State Criminal Law, Noncitizens and Immigration Related Activity – An Introduction,” 12 Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law 265-276 (2011).

“The Use of the Word ‘Citizen’ in Writings on the Fourth Amendment,” 36 Search and Seizure Law Report 45 (West June 2009).

“Reforming Criminal Indigent Defense in Louisiana-An Introduction to the Symposium and a Brief Exploration of Criminal Indigent Defense and its Relationship to Immigrant Indigent Defense,” 9 Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law 111 (2008).

“Exploring the Use of the Word ‘Citizen’ in Writings on the Fourth Amendment,” 83 Indiana Law Journal 1557 (2008).

“Ruminations on the Fourth Amendment, Case Law, Commentary and the Word ‘Citizen,’” 11 Harvard Latino Law Review 189 (2008).

“Wal-Mart, Immigrant Workers and the U.S. Government - A Case of Split Personality?” 39 Connecticut Law Review 1443-1460 (May 2007).

"At the Border: What Tres Mujeres Tell Us About Walls and Fences,” 10 The Journal of Gender, Race & Justice, A Journal of the University of Iowa College of Law 245-267 (Winter 2007).

"Good Night, and Good Luck and Sanitized Workplaces,” 29 Thomas Jefferson Law Review 65- 76 (Fall 2006).

"Confronting the Rights Deficit at Home: Is the Nation Prepared in the Aftermath of Katrina? Confronting the Myth of Efficiency,” 43 California Western Law Review 9-20 (Fall 2006).

"Immigrants and the Government's War on Terrorism," Special Issue: Whose Homeland?, 6 The New Centennial Review 225-38 (2006).

"Demore v. Kim-A Dance of Power and Human Rights," 18 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 697-744 (2004).

"Real Differences and Stereotypes - Two visions of gender, citizenship and international law," 7 New York City Law Review 315-356 (2004) (Symposium in honor of the Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsburg).

"Gender in the Constitutions of Hellas and the United States," Efarmoges Dimosiou Dikaiou (Applications of Public Law - Greek review of public law) 17 (2004), p. 371.

"Of Constitutional Amendments, Human Rights and Same-Sex Marriages," 64 Louisiana Law Review 459-75 (2004).

"Justifying Integration of Domestic Violence Throughout the Law School Curriculum: An Introduction to the Symposium on Integrating Responses to Domestic Violence," 47 Loyola Law Review 1-20 (2001).

"From Mr. Smith Goes to Washington to A Well-Founded Fear: The Congressional Battle to Save Political Asylum in America," Book review, 46 Loyola Law Review 64350 (2000).

"A Matter of Fact: Hostile Environments and Summary Judgments," 8 Southern California Review of Law and Women's Studies 311-371 (1999).

"Judicial Review - A Nice Thing? Article III, Separation of Powers and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996," 29 Connecticut Law Review 1525-1563 (1997).

"The Criminalization of lmmigration Law - Employer Sanctions and Marriage Fraud," 5 George Mason Law Review 669-731 (1997).

"Employer Sanctions in the United States, Canada and Mexico: Exploring the Criminalization of Immigration Law," 3 Southwestern Journal of Law & Trade in the Americas 333-357 (1996).

"In Search of Quality Childcare: Closing the Immigration Gate to Childcare Workers," 8 Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 161-199 (1994).

"Constitutional Law and Civil Rights," Fifth Circuit Symposium, 38 Loyola Law Review 715-754 (1992).

Comment, "Award of Attorney Fees in Bad Faith Breaches of Contract," 61 Tulane Law Review 1173- 1224 (1987).

Note, "Regional Interstate Banking - States may discriminate against other states outside their geographical regions in authorizing interstate banking acquisitions," 61 Tulane Law Review 196-214 (1986).