Rachel E. VanLandingham

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Rachel E. VanLandingham

Rachel E. VanLandingham is an American lawyer, currently working as a Professor at the Southern Law Centre, who was previously a military lawyer for the United States Air Force. She specializes in Military Law and National Security Law.

VanLandingham attended the United States Air Force Academy.[1] She then earned another Bachelor's degree, in Political Science, in 1992, from the University of Maryland. She earned a Masters of Public Management from the University of Texas at Austin in 1996. She earned a law degree from the Judge Advocate General’s School in 2000.

VanLandingham joined in a group of over 2,400 law professors who published an open letter to the United States Senate to not appoint Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court.[2]

Quoted by the Press

News media have sought out VanLandingham for her expert opinion on several issues related to military law or National Security law.

Fatal SEALs beatings

The New York Times quoted VanLandingham when the US Navy SEAL command declined to prosecute to two SEALs even though the NCIS investigation seemed to show they beat captives to death.[3]

The Kunduz Hospital bombing


The Devin Kelley case

Vice News sought her opinion on the US Air Force's response to Devin Patrick Kelley's domestic violence.[4] Kelley had beaten both his wife and her son, and had been given a sentence of only 12 months, even though her son suffered traumatic brain injury. Kelley then went on to kill 26 people. VanLandingham described the 12 month sentence as shockingly light. She said the jury members "didn’t take this crime as seriously as they probably should have.”

The Matthew Golsteyn case

On January 5, 2019, VanLandingham was a guest on WGN Radio's Legal roundup, where she was called upon for her opinion on the Matthew Golsteyn case.[5]

The Washington Post sought out VanLandingham's opinion on an account Matthew Golsteyn of how he came to kill an unarmed Afghan civilian.[6] VanLandingham predicted his court martial would revolve around whether Golsteyn could establish the unarmed Afghan showed hostile intentions, and he, Golsteyn, followed the established rules of engagement.


  1. Geoffrey S. Corn, Rachel E. VanLandingham, Shane R. Reeves, ed (2016). U.S. Military Operations: Law, Policy, and Practice. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780190456634. https://books.google.ca/books?id=lifnCwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22Rachel+E.+VanLandingham%22+OR+%22Rachel+E.+Van+Landingham%22+OR+%22Rachel+VanLandingham%22+OR+%22Rachel+Van+Landingham%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjk5Z_5s7TgAhXohVQKHSP5Cd8Q6AEILDAA#v=onepage&q=%22Rachel%20E.%20VanLandingham%22%20OR%20%22Rachel%20E.%20Van%20Landingham%22%20OR%20%22Rachel%20VanLandingham%22%20OR%20%22Rachel%20Van%20Landingham%22&f=false. Retrieved 2019-02-11. 
  2. Rachel VanLandingham (2012). "Politics or Law: The Dual Nature of the Responsibility to Ptect". Denver Journal of International Law and Policy. http://djilp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Vanlandingham_FinaltoPrinter.pdf. Retrieved 2019-02-11. 
  3. Rachel E. VanLandingham (2011). "The Stars Aligned: The Legality, Legitimacy, and Legacy of 2011's Humanitarian Intervention in Libya". Valparaiso University Law Review: 859-890. https://scholar.valpo.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2245&context=vulr. Retrieved 2019-02-11. 
  4. Rachel E. VanLandingham (2013). "Acoustic Separation in Military Justice: Filling the Decision Rule Vacuum with Ethical Standards". Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. https://kb.osu.edu/bitstream/handle/1811/73445/OSJCL_V11N2_389.pdf. Retrieved 2019-02-11. 
  5. Rachel E. VanLandingham (2016). "Criminally Disproportionate Warfare: Aggression as a Contextual War Crime". Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law. https://scholarlycommons.law.case.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://scholar.google.ca/&httpsredir=1&article=2245&context=jil. Retrieved 2019-02-11. 
  6. Rachel VanLandingham; Geoffrey Corn (2015). "Two For One: The Ethical Pursuit of Justice in the Military, And Battlefield Success, Through Joint Prosecutorial Decisions". Southwest Law Review. http://responsesystemspanel.whs.mil/Public/docs/meetings/20130924/materials/academic-panel/additional/VanLandingham_Corn_Two_For_One_Ethical_Pursuit_of_Justice.pdf. Retrieved 2019-02-11. 
  7. Rachel E. VanLandingham (2015-04-25). "Lost in Translation? The Relevancy of Kobe Bryant and Aristotle to the Legality of Modern Warfare". Pepperdine Law Review. https://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://scholar.google.ca/&httpsredir=1&article=2375&context=plr. Retrieved 2019-02-11. 


  1. Rachel VanLandingham (2012). "Politics or Law: The Dual Nature of the Responsibility to Ptect". Denver Journal of International Law and Policy. http://djilp.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Vanlandingham_FinaltoPrinter.pdf. Retrieved 2019-02-11. 
  2. "The Senate Should Not Confirm Kavanaugh: Signed, 2,400+ Law Professors". The New York Times. 2018-10-03. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/10/03/opinion/kavanaugh-law-professors-letter.html. Retrieved 2019-02-11. "The following letter was presented to the United States Senate on Oct. 4." 
  3. Nicholas Kulish, Christopher Drew, Matthew Rosenberg (2015-12-17). "Navy SEALs, a Beating Death and Claims of a Cover-Up". The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/world/asia/navy-seal-team-2-afghanistan-beating-death.html. Retrieved 2019-02-11. "Rachel E. VanLandingham, who was the United States Central Command’s chief legal adviser on detainee and interrogation issues from 2006 to 2010, called for the case to be reopened, as did several other military lawyers who reviewed the N.C.I.S. report." 
  4. Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani (2017-11-11). "The Air Force didn’t take domestic violence seriously. Then the Texas massacre happened.". Vice News. https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/zmyy53/the-air-force-didnt-take-domestic-violence-seriously-then-the-texas-massacre-happened. Retrieved 2019-02-11. "Retired Lt. Col. Rachel E. VanLandingham, who was a military lawyer for 12 years, said the fact Kelley was sentenced to only 12 months was 'shocking.' 'The members didn’t take this crime as seriously as they probably should have,' she said." 
  5. "Gery Chico, Golsteyn, new IL laws and much more". WGN Radio. 2019-01-05. https://wgnradio.com/2019/01/05/gery-chico-golsteyn-new-il-laws-and-much-more/. Retrieved 2019-02-11. "Southwestern Law School Professor and national security law expert Rachel E. VanLandingham joins the show to discuss the case against former Army Major Matthew Golsteyn who has been charged with murder in connection with the 2010 killing of a suspected Taliban bomb maker." 
    About 21:52 to 31:45
  6. Dan Lamothe (2019-02-09). "Matt Golsteyn planned to join the CIA and go to Iraq. Now he faces a murder charge". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2019-02-10. https://web.archive.org/web/20190210102413/https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/they-do-not-obey-their-own-rules-soldier-facing-murder-case-says-he-must-defend-himself-against-the-army/2019/02/09/a4cdb5b2-2baf-11e9-97b3-ae59fbae7960_story.html?utm_term=.926c77f108dd. 
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