Areas of Expertise
- Law and Politics
- Litigation in the Regulatory Process
Sean Farhang is Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science. His research and teaching interests are in the areas of law and courts, regulation, litigation, and American political development. He is author of The Litigation State: Public Regulation and Private Lawsuits in the U.S. (Princeton University Press, 2010), which examines the sources of private litigation in the enforcement of federal law, stressing Congress's role and motives in enacting incentives calculated to mobilize this form of regulatory implementation in the American separation of powers context. The book received the Gladys M. Kammerer Award from the American Political Science Association for the best book in the field of U.S. national policy, as well as the C. Herman Pritchett award for the best book on law and courts. He has authored or co-authored articles in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Studies in American Political Development, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, and Law & Social Inquiry.
Legislative-Executive Conflict and Private Statutory Litigation in the US: Evidence from Labor, Civi
GSPP Working Paper: GSPP10-008 (October 2010)
Examining qualitative historical evidence from cases of federal regulation in the areas of labor, civil rights, and environmental policy, this paper provides support for the hypothesis that divergence between legislative and executive preferences – a core and distinctive feature of the American constitutional order – creates an incentive for Congress to rely upon private lawsuits, as an alternative to administrative power, to achieve its regulatory goals. It also shows that this mechanism encouraging statutory mobilization of private litigants had been operative long before its powerful growth started in the late 1960s; that it operates in similar fashion with Republican legislators facing Democratic presidents, and Democratic legislators facing Republican presidents; and that it remained a source of controversy, and an active influence on congressional decision-making, throughout the half century covering the 1940s through the 1980s.