Paul A. Diller

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

Paul Diller’s professional work focuses on the legal structures that constrain or empower local policymaking. Recent scholarship examines the growing disconnect between urban policy preferences and those of state legislatures in many states. His 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.

Diller is an active participant in the Oregon legislative process, advocating for legislation that promotes the public health and economic fairness. For several years, he worked on strategies to combat youth obesity with a leading nonprofit organization. In 2014, he co-authored a widely cited amicus brief in defense of the legality of New York City’s sugar-sweetened-beverage portion-cap rule.

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 U.S. 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.

In Fall 2016, Diller teaches:  

  • Law 255: Administrative Law
  • Law 304: State and Local Government Law 

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 Urban Disadvantage in National and State Lawmaking" 77 Louisiana Law Review (forthcoming, 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).