Blake Emerson

Professor of Law
Professor of Political Science (by courtesy)

  • B.A, Williams College, 2007
  • M.A., Yale University, 2013
  • M. Phil, Yale University, 2013
  • Ph.D., Yale University, 2016
  • J.D., Yale Law School, 2017
  • UCLA Faculty Since 2018

Blake Emerson is Professor of Law and a Professor of Political Science (view CV). Prior to joining UCLA Law, he was a Research Fellow at the Administrative Conference of the United States in Washington, D.C. His primary research interests lie in administrative law, structural constitutional law, and political theory. In 2021, he received the Association of American Law Schools, Administrative Law Section’s Emerging Scholar Award. In spring of 2024, he is a Visiting Professor of Law at Yale Law School.

Emerson’s research examines the normative and historical foundations of American public law. He draws on resources from political theory and American political development to understand the structure and purpose of the regulatory state. He studies questions such as: What role have federal government agencies played in interpreting and implementing civil rights and other fundamental public values? How can legal doctrine ensure that agencies address such significant policy issues in a reasoned and inclusive fashion? In what ways have the diverse institutions of the American state realized, or failed to live up to, democratic principles?

Emerson’s book, The Public’s Law: Origins and Architecture of Progressive Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2019), offers a history and theory of democracy in the American administrative state. His articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Jurisprudence, the Yale Law Journal, The Cambridge Handbook of Constitutional Theory, Yale Journal on Regulation, Harvard Law & Policy Review, Minnesota Law Review, Hastings Law Journal, and Review of Politics, among other publications. He has co-authored two reports on federal agency best practices for the Administrative Conference of the United States, and written shorter contributions for Slate, the Notice and Comment Blog, Regulatory Review, and Law and Political Economy Blog.

Emerson received his B.A. magna cum laude with Highest Honors from Williams College, his Ph.D. with Honors from Yale University, and his J.D. with Honors from Yale Law School.


  • Books
    • The Public's Law: Origins and Architecture of Progressive Democracy. Oxford University Press (2019).
    • Comparative Administrative Law (edited by Peter Lindseth, Susan Rose-Ackerman, and Blake Emerson). 2nd ed. Edward Elgar Publishing (2017).
  • Articles And Chapters
    • The Binary Executive, 132 Yale L.J. Forum 756 (2022). Full Text
    • 'Policy' in the Administrative Procedure Act: Implications for Delegation, Deference, and Democracy, Chicago-Kent College of Law (forthcoming 2022). Full Text
    • Liberty and Democracy Through the Administrative State: A Critique of the Roberts Court’s Political Theory, 73 Hastings Law Journal 371 (2022). Full Text
    • The Departmental Structure of Executive Power: Subordinate Checks from Madison to Mueller, 38 (1) Yale Journal on Regulation 90 (2021). SSRN | Full Text
    • Abandoning Presidential Administration: A Civic Governance Agenda to Promote Democratic Equality and Guard Against Creeping Authoritarianism (with Jon D. Michaels), 68 UCLA Law Review 104 (2021). Full Text
    • The Claims of Official Reason: Administrative Guidance on Social Inclusion, 128 Yale Law Journal 2122 (2019). Full Text
    • Administrative Answers to “Major Questions”: On the Democratic Legitimacy of Agency Statutory Interpretation, 102 Minnesota Law Review 2019 (2018). Full Text
    • Affirmatively Furthering Equal Protection: Constitutional Meaning in the Administration of Fair Housing, 65 Buffalo Law Review 163 (2017). Full Text
    • The Administration of Constitutional Conflict: Structural Transformations in American Public Law, 1877-1946, 45 Quaderni Fiorentini (2017).
    • Book Review, 35 Law & History Review 558 (2017). Review of Forging Rivals: Race, Class, Law and the Collapse of Postwar Liberalism (2015), by Reuel Schiller.
    • The Democratic Reconstruction of the Hegelian State in American Progressive Political Thought, 77 The Review of Politics 545 (2015). Full Text
    • Equality and Federalism in U.S.-American Civil Rights Law: A Review of Two Recent Supreme Court Decisions on Same-sex Marriage and Voting Rights, 74 Heidelberg Journal of International Law 41 (2014). Full Text
    • Dialectic of Color-blindness, 39 Philosophy & Social Criticism 693 (2013). Full Text
    • Criminal Justice and the Ideology of Individual Responsibility, in Race, Crime and Punishment: Breaking the Connection in America, (edited by Keith Lawrence, Aspen, 2011).