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Abraham D. Sofaer was appointed the first George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1994. Named in honor of former US secretary of state George P. Shultz, the appointment is awarded to a senior scholar whose broad vision, knowledge, and skill will be brought to bear on the problems presented by a radically transformed global environment.


Sofaer's work focuses on the power over war within the US government and on issues related to international law, terrorism, diplomacy, and national security. His most recent books are Taking on Iran: Strength, Diplomacy, and the Iranian Threat (Hoover Institution Press, 2013) and The Best Defense?: Legitimacy and Preventive Force (Hoover Institution Press, 2010).


From 1985 to 1990 he served as Legal Adviser to the US Department of State, supervising the Department's legal work. He led diplomatic efforts to resolve several interstate matters, etc He received the Distinguished Service Award in 1989, the highest state department award given to a non–civil servant. 


From 1979 to 1985, Sofaer served as a US district judge in the Southern District of New York.

From 1969 to 1979, he was a professor of law at Columbia University School of Law and wrote War, Foreign Affairs, and Constitutional Power: The Origins. 


From 1967 to 1969, he was an assistant US attorney in the Southern District of New York, after clerking for Judge J. Skelly Wright on the US Court of Appeals in Washington, DC, and the Honorable William J. Brennan Jr. on the US Supreme Court. He practiced law at Hughes, Hubbard and Reed from 1990 to 1994.


A veteran of the US Air Force, Sofaer received an LLB degree from New York University School of Law in 1965, where he was editor in chief of the law review. He holds a BA in history from Yeshiva College (1962). Sofaer is a founding trustee of the National Museum of Jazz in Harlem and a member of the board of the Koret Foundation.


Some of his papers have been donated to the Hoover Archives, and his works will eventually be listed on this site.


1938, May 6 Born, Bombay (Mumbai), India

1952, Moved from India to the USA

1956-1959 Served with United States Air Force

1959 Naturalized as a citizen of the United States

1962 BA, History, Magna cum laude, Yeshiva College, New York

1964-1965 Editor-in-Chief, New York Law Review

1965 LLB, NYU Law School; Passed the NY bar

1965-1966 Law clerk, J. Skelly Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals, Washington, D.C.

1966-1967 Law clerk, William J. Brennan Jr., U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, D.C.

1967-1969 Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. District Court, Southern District, New York City, New York

1969-1979 Professor of Law, Columbia University, New York City, New York

1974-1975 Meyer Professor of Law and Social Research, Columbia University

1975 Brainerd Currie lecturer, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

1975-1976 Hearing Officer, New York Department of Environment Conservation

1976 Author, War, Foreign Affairs and Constitutional Power: The Origins


1976-1978 Member, Board of Directors, Citizens Union and Mobilization for Youth Legal Services

1979-1985 Adjunct Professor of Law, Columbia University

1979-1985 Judge, U.S District Court, Southern District of New York City, New York

1980 Doctor of Law, honoris causa, Yeshiva University, New York

1985 Author, The Political Offense and Terrorism and The United States and the World Court

1985-1990 Legal advisor, Department of State, Washington, D.C.

1986 Author, The War Powers Resolution and Antiterrorist Operations

1988 Author, The War Powers Resolution

1990 Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

1990-1994 Practiced law with Hughes, Hubbard, and Reed, Washington, D.C.

1994- Senior Fellow and George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

1999 Author, The New Terror: Facing the Threat of Biological and Chemical Weapons

2001 Author, The Transnational Dimension of Cyber Crime and Terrorism

1994 - Present

Hoover Institute

Abraham D. Sofaer was appointed the first George P. Shultz Distinguished Scholar and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution in 1994.

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