Noah Smith-Drelich

Assistant Professor of Law

Noah Smith-Drelich is an assistant professor of law at Chicago Kent. His scholarship seeks to better understand the incentive structures underlying tort law, with ramifications that stretch from mass torts settlements to policing. Smith-Drelich also writes on the constitutional right to travel and in the area of public health. His articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Northwestern University Law Review, Southern California Law Review (twice), Indiana Law Journal (twice), Ohio State Law Journal, Florida Tax Review, Public Health Nutrition, and Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, as well as the California Law Review Online and Texas Law Review Online.  He is also an author of the casebook Constitutional Torts (6th ed.) with professors Sheldon Nahmod, Michael Wells, and Fred Smith Jr.

In addition to his academic research, Smith-Drelich maintains an active pro bono practice in civil liberties impact litigation with a focus on indigenous rights and environmental justice, for which he was recognized in the inaugural AALS Pro Bono Honor Roll. Currently, Smith-Drelich is the originating attorney and lead counsel on Thunderhawk v. County of Morton, a putative class action lawsuit challenging police abuses related to the Standing Rock-led resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The case is in discovery.

Professor Smith-Drelich has been recognized for his teaching at Chicago-Kent, winning Chicago-Kent Student Bar Association Professor of the Year (2022) and the Chicago-Kent College of Law Excellence in Teaching Award (2022).

Before arriving at Chicago-Kent, Smith-Drelich was an academic fellow at Columbia Law School. Prior to that, Smith-Drelich worked as a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming affiliate, and as a 7th-12th grade teacher on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Smith-Drelich was a law clerk to Judge Edmond E. Chang of the Northern District of Illinois and Judge Jay S. Bybee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He also worked as an attorney at the litigation boutique Korein Tillery from 2014–2017.

He is a graduate of Stanford Law School, where he was an articles editor on the Stanford Law Review and the editor-in-chief of the Stanford Law & Policy Review. Smith-Drelich holds an M.S. in environment and natural resources (health and the human environment) from Stanford University and a B.A. from Williams College.


J.D., Stanford Law School

B.A., Williams College


The Forgotten Fundamental Right to Free Movement, 119 Nw. U. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2025)

The Anti-Discriminatory Right to Travel, 100 Ind. L. J.  ___ (forthcoming 2025)

Food Tax Substitution Effects, 26 Fl. Tax Rev. __ (forthcoming 2024) (faculty edited)

Race and the New School Milk Requirements, 14 Cal. L. Rev. O. 48 (2023)

Funding the Police, 84 Ohio State L. J. 717 (2023)

Travel Rights in a Culture War, 101 Texas L. Rev. O. 21 (2022)

The Constitutional Right to Travel Under Quarantine, 94 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1367 (2022)

The Constitutional Tort System, 96 Ind. L. J. 571 (2021)

Performative Causation, 93 S. Cal. L. Rev. 379 (2020)

Buying Health: Assessing the Impact of a Consumer-Side Vegetable Subsidy on Purchasing, Consumption and Waste, 19 Pub. Health Nutrition 520 (2016) (peer reviewed)

Curing the Mass Tort Settlement Malaise, 48 Loyola L.A. L. Rev. 1 (2014)

Media Appearances

Efforts to Restrict Travel for Abortion Access in Texas Likely Run Afoul of Constitution, Says Professor Noah Smith-Drelich

“The constitutional provisions that protect your right to travel from, for example, Texas to Washington, include some provisions that may not protect your right to travel within the state of Texas,” said Noah Smith-Drelich, law professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law. “I think it’s a reflection of just how important, how fundamental travel is, that there are multiple different constitutional protections that say you can't limit travel without a really good reason.”

Texas Tribune

Assistant Professor Noah Smith-Drelich Explains How Congress Could Codify Abortion Rights

President Joe Biden is now calling on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade and federally legalize abortion nationwide. “It means that Congress would pass a law that would provide many of the same protections that the Supreme Court previously recognized as being constitutional via Roe v. Wade, whether or not that would stand up against the current Supreme Court I think is anybody’s question,” said Noah Smith-Drelich, assistant professor of law at Chicago-Kent College of Law.