This summer, Cornell Law School will welcome K. Sabeel Rahman to the faculty. Previously an associate professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and a visiting professor at Harvard, he will teach administrative law and constitutional law at Cornell. During the upcoming school year, he will also offer a lecture course titled “Structural Inequality and Social Change: Theory and Practice,” open to students both at the Law School and across the University.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the stellar Cornell Law School community,” says Rahman. “The law school has a tremendous faculty, many of whom I’ve been fortunate to work with and learn from in the past, and I’m now doubly excited to be joining their ranks as a colleague.”
Rahman’s research explores the history, values, and policy strategies that animate efforts to make our society more inclusive and democratic and our economy more equitable. In addition to his activity in academia, he works with policymakers, think tanks, organizers, and practitioners.
From 2021 to 2023, Rahman served in the Biden Administration as a senior political appointee, running the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which coordinates regulatory policy and strategy for the White House. Prior to that—from 2018-2021—he served as president of Demos, one of the country’s leading racial-justice think tanks and advocacy organizations, which works on voting rights, economic justice, and racial equity.
Rahman is also the co-founder and co-chair of the Law and Political Economy Project, a network of legal scholars exploring themes of economic power and democracy and the legal constitution of 21st century capitalism. He is the author of the award-winning book Democracy Against Domination (Oxford 2017), as well a co-author of Civic Power: Rebuilding American Democracy in an Era of Crisis (Cambridge 2019).
“In addition to being a political theorist of the highest caliber, Sabeel’s service as a senior policy official in the Biden Administration gives him an unparalleled understanding of how federal administrative agencies work on the ground,” notes Jens David Ohlin, Allan R. Tessler Dean and professor of law. “Our students, whether they are taking Constitutional Law or Administrative Law, will be well served by his diverse experience, his original theories, and his commitment to the craft of lawyering. He is a first-rate legal talent worthy of our great Cornell legacy.”
Says Rahman, “As someone whose work has spanned law, social science, and political theory, and as a practitioner coming from several years in social justice advocacy and government service, I’m particularly looking forward to engaging with the interdisciplinary community across the university, especially on issues of public policy, political economy, and social justice. I’m also looking forward to getting to know the students and working with them in the coming years.”
Rahman received his A.B., J.D., and Ph.D. from Harvard University and two master’s degrees from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.