Paul A. Diller

Professor of Law, Director of the Certificate Program in Law & Government

Professor Diller's professional work focuses on the legal structures, including federalism and gerrymandering, that constrain or empower local policymaking. Recent scholarship examines how local lawmaking can help remedy the urban disadvantage in representation at the federal and state levels. Other recent work addresses the unique potential of cities to spur regulatory change, particularly with respect to protecting the public health. Diller has directed Willamette Law's Certificate Program in Law and Government since 2014.

Putting his scholarship into action, Diller is a leading law professor in the national effort to preserve and promote local authority in the face of more frequent and aggressive preemption. In September 2017, Diller authored an amicus brief on behalf of several leading municipal organizations in a Supreme Court case challenging gerrymandering of state legislative districts. For several years, Diller worked on strategies to combat youth obesity with a nonprofit organization. In Oregon, Diller is an active participant in the legislative process, advocating for legislation that promotes the public health and economic fairness.

Diller clerked for Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit after law school. From 2002-05, he was a trial attorney in the Civil Division of the US Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., where he litigated constitutional, employment discrimination and Freedom-of-Information-Act cases, among others. In his spare time, he enjoys playing and watching baseball, skiing, drinking coffee, and spending time with his family.

Diller teaches State and Local Government, Property, Public Health Law, and other related courses.

SSRN Author Page


  • JD, University of Michigan, magna cum laude, Order of the Coif, 2001
  • BS, BAS, University of Pennsylvania, magna cum laude, 1996

Selected Publications

  • "The Political Process of Preemption," 54 U. Rich. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming).
  • "Re-Orienting Home Rule: Part II — Remedying the Urban Disadvantage Through Federalism and Localism'" 77 Louisiana Law Review 1045 (2017).
  • "Re-Orienting Home Rule: Part I — The Urban Disadvantage in National and State Lawmaking" 77 Louisiana Law Review 287 (2016).
  • "The Illusion of Autonomy in 'Food' Litigation" 41 American Journal of Law & Medicine 274 (2015) (symposium).
  • "Why Do Cities Innovate in Public Health? Implications of Scale and Structure" 91 Washington University Law Review 1219 (2014).
  • "Combating Obesity with a Right to Nutrition" 101 Georgetown Law Journal 969 (2013).
  • "The City and the Private Right of Action" 64 Stanford Law Review 1109 (2012).
  • "Regulating Food Retail for Obesity Prevention: How Far Can Cities Go?" 39 Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (Supp.) 89 (with Samantha Graff) (2011).
  • "Habeas and (Non-)Delegation" 77 University of Chicago Law Review 585 (2010).
  • "The Partly Fulfilled Promise of Home Rule in Oregon" 87 Oregon Law Review 939 (2009) (symposium).
  • "Intrastate Preemption" 87 Boston University Law Review 1113 (2007).