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Professor Elizabeth Rapaport

Elizabeth Rapaport

Emeritus Professor of Law and Professor of Philosophy
B.A. 1965, City College of New York
J.D. 1987, Harvard University
Ph.D. 1971, Case Western Reserve University

 Curriculum Vitae SSRN

Contact Information

 Ph.: 505-277-8662
 Office: 3114


Elizabeth Rapaport joined the UNM law faculty in 1995. Prior to coming to UNM she taught Philosophy at Boston University and Public Policy at Duke University.

Much of Professor Rapaport’s current research explores legal avenues to foster compassionate release and humane carceral care for the rapidly growing population of elderly prison inmates. She has a continuing interest in executive clemency, about which she writes, teaches, lectures, and consults. Rapaport has led the UNM School of Law Clemency Project in which students represent New Mexico clemency petitioners.

Rapaport’s law scholarship includes extensive publications on gender and capital punishment, pursuing gender questions beyond condemnation into post conviction determinations of sentence reduction, clemency, and execution. In addition to empirically informed work on the capital punishment system, she has written in a theoretical vein about gender and the law of homicide, and other topics in feminist jurisprudence. Her research interests in philosophy are principally in ethics and moral psychology.

While Professor Rapaport is now emerita status, she still teaches occasionally. Her classes include criminal law, constitutional criminal procedure, international criminal law, national security law, jurisprudence, and legal ethics.

Since coming to UNM Professor Rapaport has been a visiting professor at the law schools of Duke University, North Carolina Central University, University of Connecticut, Rutgers University, and the University of San Francisco.


The Elderly of Death Row Should be Deemed Too Old to Execute, 77 Brooklyn Law Review 1089 (2012).

Death Penalty for Women in North Carolina, co-author Victor Strieb, 1 Elon L. Rev. 1 (2009).

Torture After Nuremburg: U.S. Law and Practice, in Rights, Citizenship and Torture, eds. John Parry and Welat Zedan, Inter-Disciplinary Press (Oxford, 2009).

Mad Women and Desperate Girls: Infanticide and Child Homicide in Law & Myth, Women & Crime Symposium, 33 Fordham Urban Law Journal (2006).

Straight is the Gate: Capital Clemency in the United States from Gregg to Atkins, After Atkins Symposium, 33 New Mexico Law Review 349(2003).

The Georgia Immigration Pardons: A Case Study in Mass Clemency, 13 Federal Sentencing Reporter (2001).

Staying Alive: Executive Clemency, Equal Protection, and the Politics of Gender in Women’s Capital Cases, 4 Buffalo Criminal Law Review (2001); excerpted in Capital Punishment and the Judicial Proess, 2nd ed., Randall Coyne & Lyn Entzeroth, eds., Carolina Academic Press (2001).

Sex and Politics at the Close of the 20th Century: A Feminist Looks Back at the Clinton Impeachment, in Aftermath: The Clinton Impeachment and the Presidency and in the Age of Political Spectacle, eds. Leonard Kaplan and Beverly I. Moran, NYU Press (2001).

Retribution and Redemption in the Operation of Executive Clemency, Symposium on Law, Psychology, and the Emotions, 74 Chicago-Kent Law Review 1501 (2000).

Death Penalty,Encyclopedia of Women and Crime, Oryx Press (2000).

Capital Murder, Gender, and the Domestic Discount, 49 SMU Law Review 1996.

When is Domestic Homicide a Capital Crime? in The Public Nature of Private Violence: The War Against Women, eds. M. Fineman and R. Mykitiuk (Routlege 1994).

Generalizing Gender: Reason and Essence in the Legal Thought of Catharine MacKinnon, in A Mind of One's Own, eds. Louise Antony and Charlotte Witt (Westview Press: 1992, 2nd ed. 2001).

Gender Discrimination and the Death Penalty 25 Law and Society Review (1991);

  • reprinted in A Capital Punishment Anthology, ed. V. Strieb (Anderson Publishing: 1993);
  • reprinted in Criminology in the 1990s, ed. J. Conklin (Allyn & Bacon 1996);
  • excerpted in Criminal Law and its Processes: Cases and Materials, ed. Kadish & Schulhofer, 6th ed. 1995; 7th ed. 2001;
  • excerpted in Criminal Law: Case Studies and Controversies, ed. P.H. Robinson, (Aspen, 2005);
  • excerpted in Capital Punishment, Volume 3, Litigating Capital Cases, ed. M. Koosed (Garland Publishing: 1996).

Some Questions about Gender and the Death Penalty, 20 Golden Gate Law Review, (1990); excerpted in The Eighth Amendment, Capital Punishment and the Judicial Process, ed. R. Coyne (Carolina Academic Press, 1994; 2nd ed. 2001).

Marx and Ethics Today, in Darwin, Marx and Freud: Their Influence on Ethical Theory, eds. A. Caplan and B. Jennings, Plenum Press (Spring 1984).

Book Review, C. L. Ten, Mill on Liberty,Philosophical Books, (Summer 1982).

Is Democracy Possible?American Philosophical Quarterly, (Summer 1982).

Ethics and Social Policy,Canadian Journal of Philosophy, (June 1981).

Book Review, D. L. Schaefer, Justice or Tyranny? A Critique of Rawls' Theory of Justice, in Ethics, 90 (1980).

Alienated Labor: A Reply to Judith Buber Agassi,Philosophical Forum, Special Issue on Work, X, No. 2-4, (1979).

Reply to L. L. Thomas, `Capitalism vs. Marx's Communism,'Studies in Soviet Thoughts, No. 20, (1979).

Edition of John Stuart Mill's On Liberty, with introduction and annotations, Hackett Publishing Co. (1st ed. 1977, 2nd ed. 1990).

Classical Liberalism and Rawlsian Revisionism,Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Supplementary Volume III, New Essays on Contractarianism, eds. Kai Neilsen and R. A. Shiner (Spring 1977).

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Abortion and Ethical Theory, co-authored with Paul T. Sagal, in Sex: From the Philosophical Points of View, eds. F. Elliston, J. English, and M. Vetterling-Braggin, Littlefield Adams (1977).

Anarchism and Authority in Marx's Socialist Politics,European Journal of Sociology, No. 2 (1976).

Describing Moral Weakness,Philosophical Studies, Vol. 28 (1975).

Book Review, S. Rowbotham, Women's Consciousness, Man's World, in Telos, No. 21 (1974).

On the Future of Love: Rousseau and the Radical Feminists,Philosophical Forum, Vol. 5, No. 1 and No. 2 (1973-74);

  • reprinted in Women and Philosophy: Towards a Philosophy of Liberation, eds. C.C. Gould and M. W. Wartofsky;
  • reprinted in Women in Western Thought, ed. M. L. Osborne, Random House (1979);
  • reprinted in Contemporary Readings in the Philosophy of Sex, ed. Alan Soble, Littlefield Adams (1979);
  • reprinted in The Philosophy of Love, eds. R.C. Solomon and Kathleen Higgins (University of Kansas: 1991).

Explaining Moral Weakness,Philosophical Studies, 24 (1973).


Panelist, "Two (or Three) Kinds of Mercy," Mercy in the Administration of Criminal Justice, Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting (August 7, 2014)

Professor Rapaport will present her paper, "You Can’t Get There From Here: Elderly Prisoners, Prison Down Sizing, and the Insufficiency of Cost Cutting Advocacy" at the Annual Conference of the International Prison and Corrections Association in Colorado Springs in October and at the Aging and Society Conference, University Center Chicago in November.