Bridget Fahey

Bridget Fahey

Assistant Professor of Law

Bridget Fahey is an Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School. Her research in constitutional law focuses on the theory and practice of American federalism, especially how our domestic governments interact in unexpected ways and use unorthodox legal tools to structure their joint projects. Her forthcoming co-authored article Layered Constitutionalism and Structural Interdependency, 124 Colum. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2024), identifies and theorizes a largely hidden body of federal constitutional rules that shape—in ways expected and unexpected—state structural choices.

Her earlier article Coordinated Rulemaking and Cooperative Federalism’s Administrative State, 132 Yale L.J. 1213 (2023), argues that cooperative federalism programs have given rise to a distinctive administrative state—with forms of administrative action and legal frameworks that diverge in important respects from ordinary federal and state administrative law. The Article illustrates this point by identifying a distinctive form of legislative rulemaking—“coordinated rulemaking”—which is widely used in cooperative federalism programs, but cannot be assimilated into familiar administrative law frameworks. Her article Data Federalism, 135 Harv. L. Rev. 1107 (2022), uncovers a vast intergovernmental market in private data exchanged by federal, state, and local governments, and the unusual cross-governmental bureaucracies that govern that market. Both pieces expound on the insight she first developed in Federalism by Contract, 129 Yale L.J. 2326 (2020), which demonstrated that the federal government and states use contract-like instruments to structure intergovernmental programs and transact in a wide range of governmental powers. Before joining the faculty, her article Consent Procedures and American Federalism, 128 Harv. L. Rev. 1561 (2015), identified and theorized the federal government’s practice of using cooperative federalism programs to intervene in and reshape state and local governing processes.

Professor Fahey is also interested in the government stewardship of private data. Building on Data Federalism, her cross-disciplinary work funded by a grant from the Neubauer Collegium aims to develop a descriptive and conceptual understanding of the legal-technical architectures that shape of how data moves between—and is controlled by—our domestic governments.

Professor Fahey received a BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago and a JD from Yale Law School. Before joining the faculty, she was a litigator at the Washington DC office of WilmerHale, held a fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was a law clerk on the DC Circuit and on the Supreme Court of the United States for Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Earlier in her career, Professor Fahey worked as a management consultant for the Boston Consulting Group in Chicago and Berlin.

She teaches 1L Contracts and Constitutional Law, co-coordinates the Public Law Workshop, and has taught informal Greenberg Seminars on eclectic topics including Space Law, Order Without Law, Free Speech on Campus, and others.