Kris W. Kobach

Hon. Kris W. Kobach

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and Secretary o, Kansas

Topics: Civil Rights • International & National Security Law • Federalism & Separation of Powers • Criminal Law & Procedure • Free Speech & Election Law • Environmental Law & Property Rights • Religious Liberties • Professional Responsibility & Legal Education

Kris Kobach is a Professor of Law at UMKC, a nationally-recognized litigator who fights for the rights of US citizens in cases involving illegal immigration, former Counsel to US Attorney General John Ashcroft (2001-03), Chairman of the Kansas Republican Party (2007-09), and the host of The Kris Kobach Show on KCMO 710 Talk Radio.

Kris Kobach grew up in Topeka, Kansas.  He received his bachelor of arts degree with highest distinction from Harvard University in 1988, graduating at the top of his class in the Harvard Government Department. In 1988, the British government awarded him a Marshall Scholarship, which took him to England for post-graduate study. In 1992 he received his doctorate in Political Science from Oxford University. In 1995 he received his J.D. from Yale Law School. While at Yale, he taught undergraduates in the Yale Political Science Department, and in 1994 he won the Prize Teaching Fellowship, an award based on student nominations and faculty review. He also served as notes development editor on the Yale Law Journal.

Professor Kobach was admitted to the Kansas Bar in 1995 and served as a law clerk to Judge Deanell Reece Tacha of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in 1995-1996. He joined the UMKC School of Law faculty in 1996. He has published two books, The Referendum: Direct Democracy in Switzerland (Dartmouth, 1994), and Political Capital: The Motives, Tactics, and Goals of Politicized Businesses in South Africa (University Press of America, 1990). He has also published numerous articles in political science, constitutional law, immigration law, and legal history.

In 2001, Professor Kobach was awarded a White House Fellowship, which took him to Washington, DC, to work for the Bush Administration in the personal office of Attorney General John Ashcroft.  Professor Kobach served as the Attorney General's chief advisor on immigration law and border security.  After his fellowship year ended, the Attorney General asked Kobach to stay on as his Counsel.  Professor Kobach's Presidential Appointment commenced on September 1, 2001, just ten days before the attacks of September 11. After the attacks, Kobach was put in charge of Department of Justice efforts to tighten border security and return the rule of law to immigration. He led the team that designed and implemented the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which registers and fingerprints high-risk visitors to the United States.  Within its first year of operation, the registration system resulted in the apprehension of numerous suspected terrorists.  Professor Kobach also led Department of Justice reforms of the immigration court system, resulting in the reshaping of the Board of Immigration Appeals in 2002.

Professor Kobach has testified before Congress eight times on numerous occasions, most frequently on questions involving immigration law.  In addition, he has testified more than a dozen times before various state legislatures around the country, advising legislators on the constitutionality of proposed legislation.  He is also a regular legal commentator on Lou Dobbs Tonight (CNN) and The O'Reilly Factor (FOX News Channel).

Professor Kobach has litigated some of the most important immigration-related cases in the country.  He is lead counsel defending Hazleton, Pennsylvania, in its efforts to stop the employment of unauthorized aliens and the harboring of illegal aliens in apartments against a suit brought by the ACLU.  He is also defending Valley Park, Missouri, and Farmers Branch, Texas, against similar lawsuits brought by the ACLU and MALDEF, respectively.  He is representing US citizens who are suing the California Board of Regents for offering in-state tuition to illegal aliens in violation of federal law.  And he is also representing the Bologna family in their lawsuit against the City of San Francisco-a city whose sanctuary policy for illegal aliens enabled an illegal alien gang member to murder Tony, Michael and Matthew Bologna. 

Professor Kobach teaches Constitutional Law I, Constitutional Law II, Immigration Law, American Legal History, and Legislation.  His radio show can be heard every Sunday night at 6-8 pm on KCMO 710 AM or at

  • B.A. Government, Harvard University, Summa Cum Laude
  • M.A. Political Science, Oxford University
  • P.H.D. Political Science, Oxford University
  • J.D. Yale Law


A person listed as a contributor has spoken or otherwise participated in Federalist Society events, publications, or multimedia presentations. A person's appearance on this list does not imply any other endorsement or relationship between the person and the Federalist Society. In most cases, the biographical information on a person's "contributor" page is provided directly by the person, and the Federalist Society does not edit or otherwise endorse that information. The Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues. All expressions of opinion by a contributor are those of the contributor.