Cuéllar takes up complex and timely questions at the intersection of law and society. Who has the power to design federal agencies, and who sets priorities when deciding on the most urgent security problems facing our country? What are the implications for U.S. science policy? Cuéllar explores how these questions are connected by investigating the hidden origins of two of the most powerful agencies in the federal government.
Even after Franklin Roosevelt failed in his drive to reorganize federal courts during his second term and faced the prospect of a costly war, he kept on pressing for authority to reorganize the executive branch and created a vast agency called the Federal Security Agency, which evolved into the Department of Health and Human Services. Six decades later, the Bush Administration pursued one of the largest reorganizations in modern history after initially opposing the creation of a Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the September 11 attacks. Cuéllar investigates the story of these two agencies in order to illuminate the complex relationship between public law, executive organization, and the contested meaning of national security. Cuéllar will discuss how the impact of public law ultimately depends on how politicians go about security control of the vast agencies that implement statutes and regulations, and on how those agencies are in turn used to define the contested concept of security.
About the Speaker
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar works at the intersection of law, public policy, and political science. A member of the Stanford Law School faculty since 2001, he is currently the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science, and the Co-Director of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research and teaching focus on administrative law, executive power, and how organizations implement regulatory responsibilities involving public health and safety, migration, and international security in a changing world. In July 2010, the President appointed him to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent agency charged with improving the efficiency and fairness of federal regulatory programs. He also serves on the Department of Education's National Commission on Educational Equity and Excellence, and the Department of State's Advisory Sub-Committee on Economic Sanctions.
From early 2009 through the summer of 2010, he served as Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy at the White House. In this capacity, he led the Domestic Policy Council's work on criminal justice and drug policy, public health and food safety, regulatory reform, borders and immigration, civil rights, and rural and agricultural policy. Among other issues, Cuéllar worked on stricter food safety standards, the FDA's regulatory science initiative, expanding support for local law enforcement and community-based crime prevention, strengthening border coordination and immigrant integration, and the Quadrennial Homeland Security Review.
Before working at the White House, he co-chaired the Obama-Biden Transition's Immigration Policy Working Group. During the second term of the Clinton Administration, he worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Enforcement, where he focused on countering financial crime, improving border coordination, and enhancing anti-corruption measures. He is on the Board of Directors of the Constitution Project, a non-profit think-tank that builds bipartisan consensus on significant constitutional issues. He clerked for Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.