K. Sabeel Rahman

Professor of Law, Cornell University Law School, and Co-Founder, Law and Political Economy Project

Washington, DC

@ksabeelrahman

Experience

  • Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget
  • Demos
  • Roosevelt Institute

Expertise

  • Democracy and governance
  • Regulatory and industrial policy
  • Constitutional law and the Supreme Court

Education

  • Harvard University, Ph.D., J.D., A.B. 
  • Oxford University, M.S., M.St.

Recent Coverage

MAY 17, 2024

Bloomberg Law | Concurrence Signals Some Justices Wary of Clipping Agency Power

Others say it’s too early to declare the end of the attack on the administrative state by conservatives, who view it as an overreaching progressive-led bureaucracy.

“The opinion is hinting at something, but we won’t know what until the other cases come out,” said Cornell law professor K. Sabeel Rahman.


MAY 16, 2024

New York Times | What the Supreme Court Ruling Means for Other Consumer Bureau Actions

“The Fifth Circuit has really become a vehicle for launching what would otherwise be completely off-the-wall — you know, not in the ballpark of standard legal consensus — arguments into the national conversation,” said K. Sabeel Rahman, a Cornell Law School professor and former official at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.


JAN 4, 2024

Boston Review | Saving Bidenomics (Opinion)

State capacity has always been central to progressive governance. The Progressive Era and New Deal creation of agencies like the FTC, National Labor Relations Board, Tennessee Valley Authority, or Social Security Administration made possible the rebalancing of corporate power, providing vital services to the public. The civil rights and environmental revolutions similarly required the creation of new agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency, and new tools like Title VI and Title IX enforcement measures to help realize the promise of a more inclusive society.

Crucially, the success of these institution-building moments was not measured only in terms of construction projects or output. They were regarded too for their creation of a richer, fuller, more expansive sense of freedom: one that took seriously the power disparities between capital and labor, firms and communities, and attempted to deconstruct the systemic subordination of people of color, women, and marginalized or vulnerable groups. As we grapple today with our own challenges—among them a climate crisis and persistent social and economic disparities—we will need as much creativity and institution building as we did then.


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About Sabeel

Sabeel Rahman is a Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. He is also a co-founder and faculty co-chair of the Law and Political Economy Project. His academic research focuses on issues of democracy, governance, economic power, political economy paradigms, racial equity, and inequality. He works extensively with a range of think tanks, advocacy organizations, and foundations to develop novel approaches to addressing these issues in practice.

From 2021-2023, he served in the Biden-Harris Administration where he led the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). At OIRA, he oversaw the policy review and approval of all significant federal regulations and played a lead role in the Administration’s efforts on equity, data and information policy, and reforming regulatory analysis. From 2018-2021, he served as President of Demos, a national racial justice think tank and advocacy organization that played a key role in combatting voter suppression and developing and mainstreaming major policy ideas from climate justice to student debt relief to energy democracy.

He is the author Democracy Against Domination (Oxford University Press, 2017), and Civic Power (with Hollie Russon Gillman, Cambridge University Press, 2019). His popular writings have appeared in venues like The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Boston Review, Dissent, and The Washington Post.