Morse TanMorse Tan
Associate Professor of Law

B.A., Wheaton College
M.A., Wheaton Graduate School
J.D., Northwestern University



Phone:  (815) 753-1095
Room:  198B


A Supreme Court Fellowship Finalist, Professor Tan previously served as a Visiting Scholar and Senior Research Fellow at the University of Texas School of Law. He has published in the SMU Law JournalSt. Louis University Law Journal, Texas International Law Journal and Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine.  Prof. Tan has a book contract with Routledge Press on the security and human rights crises of North Korea. 

His work on North Korea has been received by the the United Nations Commission of Inquiry, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the South Korean Ambassador to the U.S. and the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State who led negotiations with North Korea.  No scholar has produced more law review articles on North Korea than he has.

Prof. Tan has served as a peer reviewer for the Human Rights Journal and the International Negotiation Journal.  He is also Faculty Advisor for the NIU College of Law International Law Certificate program.

Experientially, he has worked in large law firms, the American Medical Association’s Institute of Ethics, as a certified mediator, and for organizational clients such as the UN Development Programme as well as the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Prof. Tan has enjoyed speaking at various universities and conferences, both in North America as well as abroad. He has contributed to a number of media outlets, including the National Law Journal and UPI (United Press International), and has consulted on legal as well as ethical matters. Prof. Tan is a member of the American Society of International Law as well as the International Committee of SEALS (the Southeastern Association of Law Schools). 

With a National Merit Scholarship, the Harvard Book Award, and credits transferred from Stanford University, Prof. Tan graduated with honors from Wheaton College, attained an accelerated Master's from its graduate school, and earned his JD from Northwestern University School of Law, where he completed an international law concentration.

Faculty News for Professor Tan

 Books and Academic Book Chapters

  • Rightlessness in a Nuclear State: Addressing North Korea's Dual Crises (under contract with Routledge Press, forthcoming 2014).
  • “A State of Rightlessness: The Egregious Case of North Korea” chapter in the book International Law, Conventions and Justice, edited by Prof. David Frenkel, LLD.

Law Review Articles

  • "International Humanitarian Law and North Korea: Another Angle for Accountability," (accepted for publication).
  • "Finding a Forum for North Korea," 65 SMU Law Review 4 (lead article).
  • “Upholding Human Rights in the Hemisphere: Casting Down Impunity Through the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” 43 Texas International Law Journal 2.
  • “Compliance Theory and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” 33 International Journal of Legal Information 3 (lead article). This journal is housed and peer-edited at Yale Law School.
  • “A State of Rightlessness:  the Egregious Case of North Korea” 80 Mississippi Law Journal 20.
  • “The North Korean Nuclear Crisis: Past Failures and Present Solutions,” 50 St. Louis University Law Journal 2. 
  • “The Jurisprudential Underpinnings of Law, Especially International Law: the Basis for True Progress & Reform” 2 Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy 1 (lead article).
  • “Advancing Civil Rights, the Next Generation: the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 and Beyond”,  19 Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine 1.

Selected Presentations

  • "Syrian Humanitarian Crisis from an International Legal Perspective," presented with Professors Rosado and Brown, Chicago-Kent College of Law; Professors Ward and Kelleman, DePaul University College of Law; and Professor Telman from Valparaiso University Law School; Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, Illinois, November 2013.
  • "How to Become a Law Professor," presented with Luke Milligan, University of Louisville; Jody Madeira, University of Indiana Maurer School of Law; Howard Wasserman, Florida International University; and Michael Kang, Emory Law School before the Southeastern Association of Law Schools, Palm Beach, Florida, August 2013.
  • "The International Criminal Court: Is the World Better Off?," debate with Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Northwestern University Law School, held at Northern Illinois University College of Law, March 2013. 
  • Presenter on the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Valparaiso University Law School faculty workshop, October 2012.
  • Commented on talk on the use of drones in warfare by Professor Robert F. Turner, University of Virginia School of Law, Fall 2011.
  • "Redress for a Reprehensible Regime: Finding a Forum for North Korea," presented at the Central States Law Schools' Association annual conference, 2011.
  • “A State of Rightlessness: the Egregious Case of North Korea,” presented in Athens, Greece at the Athens Institute for Education and Research Law Conference, 2010.
  • “Compliance Theory and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights,” presented at Queens University Law School (Canada), 2007.
  • “Issues Concerning North Korea,” presented at the University of Texas, 2007.

Selected Media Contributions

Areas of Expertise:  International Law, Human Rights, Bioethics, Constitutional Law, North Korea, Legal Philosophy

Current Courses Taught: Public International Law, International Human Rights, International Criminal Law, Bioethics, North Korea Seminar

Other Courses Taught: International Organizations, Constitutional Law I & II, Jurisprudence, Contracts, Law and Contemporary Issues

Bar Certifications: Illinois and United States Supreme Court

Foreign Languages & Travel: Spanish, Portuguese (can comprehend), French (basic), Korean and Latin; has travelled to around 30 countries

Other Interests: With victories over those who held or went on to hold NCAA Division I Top 5 and ATP World Tour Top 250 rankings, Prof. Tan is a Certified Pro with TennisCare ( and has taught tennis on the side. As a cellist, he has performed at the Sydney Opera House, the Glinka Cappella, KDFC radio and in recordings with commendation by Itzhak Perlman.