Bertrall Ross, LAPA Fellow; UC Berkeley School of Law

Embracing Administrative Constitutionalism

Date: 
Mon, 03/10/2014
Location: 
4:30-6 PM, Kerstetter Room, Marx Hall

Please join us for a LAPA Seminar with Bertrall Ross, LAPA Fellow and Assistant Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. His commentator is Gillian Metzger, Stanley H. Fuld Professor of Law and Vice Dean at Columbia Law School.

As always, the LAPA format asks that seminar participants familiarize themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator will open the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion. The author then has the right of first response before we open to the floor for questions. The seminar will end with a brief reception in the Kerstetter Room, giving everyone a chance to mingle and meet.

From Professor Ross: "Administrative agencies are actively involved in the elaboration of constitutional meaning. By fleshing out and applying statutes that rest on constitutional values, agencies are construing the Constitution even if that is not their intent. To date, this “administrative constitutionalism” exercised in the civil rights domain has met with judicial resistance. Many would argue that the Court is right to resist administrative constitutionalism, particularly when it involves an agency favoring norms that are in tension with the Court’s constitutional jurisprudence. I rebut this argument and make the case for popular constitutionalists, departmentalists, and judicial supremacists to embrace administrative constitutionalism—or at least, not resist it."

Bertrall Ross is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. His research is driven by a normative concern about democratic responsiveness and the political inclusion of marginalized communities. Methodologically, he seeks to integrate history, political theory and empirical social science in examining the U.S. Constitution, legal doctrine, and the institutional role of courts in democratic design. In his current scholarship, Ross is exploring how evolving conceptions of politics have influenced the Supreme Court's equal protection jurisprudence. He is also undertaking an empirical project that seeks to challenge the Supreme Court's assumptions about the political power of the poor. His past scholarship is in the areas of statutory interpretation, voting rights, and democratic design. As a LAPA Fellow, Ross is working on a book exploring the original meaning of the Fifteenth Amendment's prohibition on the discriminatory denial of the right to vote. Ross earned his J.D. from Yale Law School and an MA from the London School of Economics. He also has a Master's in Public Affairs (MPA 03) from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Prior to joining Berkeley Law, he was a Kellis Parker Academic Fellow at Columbia Law School. 

Gillian Metzger is the Stanley H. Fuld Professor of Law, and Vice Dean of Columbia Law School. She writes and teaches in the areas of administrative and constitutional law, with a specialization in federalism. Her publications include: with Peter L. Strauss, Todd D. Rakoff, and Cynthia R. Farina, Gellhorn and Byse's Administrative Law: Cases and Comments (Foundation Press; joined as editor 2007); Ordinary Administrative Law as Constitutional Common Law, 110 Colum. L. Rev. 479 (2010); Administrative Law as the New Federalism, 57 Duke L. J. 2023 (2008); Congress, Article IV, and Interstate Relations, 120 Harv. L. Rev. 1468 (2007),; Abortion, Equality, and Administrative Regulation, 56 Emory L.J. 865 (2007); Facial Challenges and Federalism, 105 Colum. L. Rev. 873 (2005), and Privatization As Delegation, 103 Colum. L. Rev. 1367 (2003). Metzger joined the Columbia faculty in 2001, she was named the Stanley H. Fuld Professor of Law in 2011. Prior to coming to Columbia, she served as a law clerk to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Patricia M. Wald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Funded by the Bouton Law Lecture Fund