Caroline Bettinger-López

Professor of Clinical Legal Education & Director, Human Rights Clinic

J.D. 2003, Columbia Law School
B.A. 1997, University of Michigan

Phone: 305-284-5923
Office: E256

Caroline Bettinger-López is a Professor of Clinical Legal Education and Director of the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Miami School of Law. She also serves as an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Professor Bettinger-López recently completed a two-year term in the Obama Administration, where she served as the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women, a senior advisor to Vice President Joe Biden, and a member of the White House Council on Women and Girls. At the White House, her responsibilities included co-chairing the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, chairing the U.S. Government Inter-Agency Working Group on Violence Against Women, co-coordinating the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, and developing the cabinet-level North American Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls (whose inaugural meeting in October 2016 included the participation of all attorneys general and indigenous affairs cabinet members from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico).

Professor Bettinger-López’s scholarship, practice, and teaching concern international human rights law and policy advocacy, violence against women, gender and race discrimination, immigrants’ rights, and clinical legal education. She focuses on the implementation of human rights norms at the domestic level, principally in the United States and Latin America. Professor Bettinger-López regularly litigates and engages in other forms of advocacy before the Inter-American Human Rights system, the United Nations, federal and state courts, and legislative bodies.

Professor Bettinger-López is lead counsel on Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2011), the first international human rights case brought by a domestic violence victim against the U.S. She has worked extensively with advocates and government officials in Canada on issues of violence against Indigenous women and girls, challenged Stand Your Ground laws before the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, collaborated with advocates in Miami and Haiti to stop U.S. deportations to post-earthquake Haiti, and litigated against the Dominican Republic for its mass expulsions of Haitian nationals and Dominicans of Haitian descent.

Her work has appeared in numerous journals, law reviews, and online and traditional media, including: Harvard Human Rights Law Journal, Columbia Human Rights Law Review, American Journal of International Law, the New York Times, the Miami Herald, National Public Radio, Huffington Post, Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy, and Jotwell.

Prior to joining the Obama-Biden White House, Professor Bettinger-López was the founding Director of Miami Law’s Human Rights Clinic (2010-2015). Before that, she was Deputy Director of the Human Rights Institute and Lecturer-in-Law and Acting Director of the Human Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School (2006-2010). There, she helped to coordinate the Human Rights in the U.S. Project and the Bringing Human Rights Home Lawyers' Network, a network of over 900 lawyers who are actively involved in domestic human rights strategies in the U.S. In fall 2014, she was a Visiting Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Chicago Law School, where she taught and directed the International Human Rights Clinic. Earlier, she was a Skadden Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Women’s Rights Project, where she focused on housing, employment, civil, and human rights of domestic violence survivors (2004-2006). From 2003-2004, she served as a law clerk for Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. in the Eastern District of New York.

Prior to her legal career, Professor Bettinger-López worked as an AmeriCorps member in the Miami Beach public schools, where she engaged in social services advocacy and youth education centered on women and girls’ empowerment, as well as anti-violence programming. She also lived and worked in and Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti as a secondary school teacher.

Professor Bettinger-López earned a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Harlan Fiske Stone scholar; and a B.A. from the University of Michigan, where she studied cultural anthropology and earned Highest Honors for her senior thesis, which was later published as a book, Cuban-Jewish Journeys: Searching for Identity, Home, and History in Miami (Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2000). She is a Miami native, and a proud alumnus of Palmetto High School, Palmetto Middle School, and Pinecrest Elementary School.



The Second Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, (2017).

A Call to Action for College and University Presidents, Chancellors, and Senior Administrators: Step Up on Sexual Assault, with Joe Biden, (2017).

Fact Sheet: Final It’s on Us Summit and Report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, The White House Briefing Room (2017).

Preventing and Addressing Campus Sexual Misconduct: A Guide for University and College Presidents, Chancellors, and Senior Administrators, White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault (2017).

Accomplishments of the Office on Violence Against Women January 2009 to January 2017, U.S. Dep't of Justice (2017).

National Stalking Awareness Month, The White House (2017).

Fact Sheet: Ensuring Safe and Supportive Schools for All Students, The White House Briefing Room (2016).

Fact Sheet: The Opportunity Project – Unleashing the Power of Open Data to Build Stronger Ladders of Opportunity for All Americans, The White House Briefing Room (2016).

Honoring Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The White House Blog (2016).

Identifying and Preventing Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Sexual and Domestic Violence, The White House Blog (2016).

Inaugural Meeting of the North American Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls, The White House Blog (2016).

Fact Sheet: North American Working Group on Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls, New Commitments & Accomplishments from the Obama Administration, The White House Briefing Room (2016).

National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, The White House (2016).

International Day of the Girl , The White House (2016).

Improving the Law Enforcement Response to LGBT-Identified Individuals, The White House Blog (2016).

National Native American Heritage Month, (2016).

Statement by the President on International Women’s Day, The White House (2016).

The Sexual Assault Kit Initiative: An Important Step Toward Ending the Rape Kit Backlog, (2016).

Joe Biden Writes An Open Letter to Stanford [sexual assault] Survivor, Buzzfeed News , (2016).

United States Key Deliverables for the 2016 North American Leaders’ Summit, (2016).

White House United State of Women Summit, (2016).

The United State of Women: Mobilizing to End Violence Against Women (and More), (2016).

Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls: Commitments from the North American Leaders Summit , (2016).

Two Years Later: Assessing Campus Climate Remains a Key Part of Changing Campus Culture, (2016).

National Stalking Awareness Month, The White House (2016).

National Teen Dating Violence Awareness And Prevention Month, The White House (2016).

Prioritizing School Safety: A New Curriculum for Colleges and Universities to Address Sexual Assault , (2016).

Women’s Equality Day, The White House (2016).

White House Police Data Initiative Highlights New Commitments, (2016).

, National Sexual Assault Awareness Month (2016).

National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, The White House (2016).

Remarks by the President at the Congressional Black Caucus 45th Annual Phoenix Awards Dinner, The White House Briefing Room (2015).

Fact Sheet: Resource Guide and Recent Efforts to Combat Sexual Violence on College and University Campuses, The White House Briefing Room (2015).

Four Critical Questions for the College Search, Yahoo Parenting, (2015).

National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, The White House (2015).

International Day of the Girl , The White House (2015).

Fact Sheet: Investments to Reduce the National Rape Kit Backlog and Combat Violence Against Women, The White House Briefing Room (2015).

Stepping out of the Shadows, Together for Women and Girls, with Tina Tchen, Douglas Brooks, The White House Blog (2015).

Supporting Survivors Across the Lifespan: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, 2015, The White House Blog (2015).

Read the Vice President’s Human Rights Day Statement on Gender Violence, The White House Blog (2015).

Women’s Equality Day, The White House (2015).

"Don’t Look to Your Left, Don’t Look to Your Right – It’s on You.", with Tiffany McNair, The White House Blog (2015).

National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, The White House (2015).

CONVERGE! Plenary 4—Reimagining Mobilization, Action, and Pedagogy (Transcript) 5, U. MIAMI RACE & SOC. JUST. L. REV. (2015).

Representing Child Migrants (in the Midst of Our Border Crisis), JOTWELL (2014).

Implementation of Lenahan v. US and a Tribute to Jessica Lenahan, Human Rights At Home Blog (2014).

Child Migrants in the Midst of Our Border Crisis, Human Rights At Home Blog (2014).

VAWA@20: The Duty to Protect from State-Created Dangers: An International Law Perspective, CUNY L. REV. FOOTNOTE FORUM (2014).

"Stand Your Ground” Laws: International Human Rights Law Implications, with Ahmad Abuznaid, Charlotte Cassel, Meena Jagannath, 68 U. Miami L. Rev. 1129 (2014).

Comparative Pragmatism Versus Comparative Formalism in the Abortion Context, JOTWELL (2013).


Implementing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights’ Domestic Violence Ruling, with Elizabeth Schneider, Lisalyn Jacobs, Margaret Drew, Mary Haviland, Julie Goldscheid, Sandra Park, Ejim Dike, 46 Clearinghouse Rev. 113 (2012).

Introduction to Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States: Implementation, Litigation, and Mobilization Strategies, 21 Am. U. J. Gender Soc. Pol'y & L. 207 (2012).

The Challenge of Domestic Implementation of International Human Rights Law in the Cotton Field Case, 15 CUNY L. Rev. 315 (2012).

Foreword to Gender Justice in the Americas: A Transnational Dialogue on Sexuality, Violence, Reproduction, and Human Rights, with Alma Luz Beltran y Puga, Jorge Contesse, Paola Garcia-Rey, Diana Hortsch, Risa Kaufman, Nicole Tuszynski, 65 U. Miami L. Rev. (2011).

Redefining Human Rights Lawyering Through the Lens of Critical Theory: Lessons for Pedagogy and Practice, with Deborah Weissman, Davida Finger, Sarah Paoletti, JoNel Newman, Meetali Jain, 18 Geo. J. on Poverty L. & Pol'y (2011).

Inter-American Court Rules Against Mexico on Gender Violence in Ciudad Juárez, IntLawGrrls Blog (2010).

(Book Review) , with Bassina Farbenblum, 104 The Human Rights of Non-citizens. By David Weissbrodt Am. J. Int'l L. 714 (2010).

The Inter-American Human Rights System: A Primer, 42 Clearinghouse Rev. 581 (2009).

Jessica Gonzales v. United States: An Emerging Model for Domestic Violence & Human Rights Advocacy in the United States, 21 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. (2008).

Human Rights at Home: Domestic Violence as a Human Rights Violation, 40 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. (2008).

International Union, U.A.W. v. Johnson Controls: The History of Litigation Alliances and Mobilization to Challenge Fetal Protection Policies (with Susan Sturm), CIVIL RIGHTS STORIES (2008).

Time to Set a New Standard; Protection from Domestic Violence, Nat'l L.J. (2007).

Op-Ed: Dominican Republic: Grant Full Citizenship to All Born in the Country, with Indira Goris, Miami Herald A19 (2007).

Op-Ed: La Discriminacion del Libro Rosado, with Indira Goris, El Nuevo Herald (2007).

"Hebrew with a Cuban Accent": Jewbans in the Diaspora, Cuba: Idea of a Nation Displaced 107 (2007).

Castle Rock v. Gonzales and the Future of Police Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence, with Emily Martin, Domestic Violence Rep. (2005).

Cuban-Jewish Journeys: Searching for Identity, Home, and History in Miami (2000).

DOCTRINE, PRACTICE, AND ADVOCACY IN THE INTER-AMERICAN SYSTEM (ed. with James Cavallaro, Bernard Duhaime, Ariel Dulitzky, Clara Sandoval, and Claret Vargas), Oxford Univ. Press (UK) (forthcoming), In Preparation; Not Yet Submitted.

Developing a National Plan of Action on Violence Against Women and Gender-Based Violence: A Human Rights Approach in THE POLITICIZATION OF SAFETY, THE POLITICIZATION OF SAFETY.

The Inter-American system: Organisation of American States Charter and Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belém do Pará) , THE NORMATIVE GAPS IN THE LEGAL PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND GIRLS FROM VIOLENCE: PUSHING THE FRONTIERS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.

Inter-American Ruling Invites Global Rethink of State Protection Against Domestic Violence, IntLawGrrls Blog.

 Media Appearances

TV: Human Rights Watch Film Festival June 2017

Internet: BUZZFEED April 13 2017

Internet: BUZZFEED April 03 2017


Internet: October 13 2016

Other: The White House, Office of the Press Secretary October 13 2016

Other: Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Treatment October 7 2016

Other: MeriTalk October 6 2016

Other: ABA Journal October 1 2016

Other: US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice July 29 2016

Other: Sunlight Foundation May 4 2016

Other: The Daily Orange April 2016

Other: DC Volunteer Lawyers Project April 22 2016

Internet: April 16 2016

Other: Organization of American States March 8 2016

Internet: February 9 2016

Radio: Local News – 90.7 WMFE January 27 2016

Other: City of Orlando January 26 2016

Other: PAHO WHO December 2 2015

Other: Columbia Law School October 19 2015

Other: Federal Partners Committee on Women and Trauma September 2015

TV: The Women of Color Network (WOCN) September 1 2015

Other: Hall of Americas - Organization of American States June 19 2015

Internet: Convo Labs June 16 2015

Other: California Coalition Against Sexual Assault June 3 2015

Internet: War on Domestic Terrorism May 27 2015

Magazine: The Atlantic May 15 2015

Internet: May 4 2015

Other: Futures Without Violence April 28 2015

Other: U S Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri April 23 2015

Newspaper: The Miami Herald March 4 2015

Other: The White House March 4 2015

Internet: Human Rights at Home Blog February 17 2015

Internet: MSNBC September 17 2014

Other: WLRN, Miami Herald News, Latin America Report September 17 2014

TV: Jamaican News Network March 25 2014

TV: Investigation Discovery March 17 2014

TV: Jamaican News Network October 10 2013

TV: Al Jazeera Television October 2 2013

Internet: IRISH INDEPENDENT May 26 2013

Radio: Pacifica Radio January 12 2012

Radio: National Public Radio May 9 2011

Internet: New York Times March 21 2011

Internet: N.Y. TIMES January 19 2011

Radio: National Public Radio January 14 2011

Radio: Public Radio International January 14 2011

TV: Telemundo October 27 2009

Internet: LISTIN DIARIO July 6 2009

Radio: Radio Netherlands July 4 2008

Radio: Colorado Public Radio October 22 2007


Phone: 305-284-5923
Office: E256
Faculty Assistant

Dominguez, Rose

Phone: (305)284-4542
Office: E270
Faculty Assistant

Vargas, Danny

Phone: (305)284-8537
Office: E270

Websites and Blogs

Human Rights Clinic

White House Blogs