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Michele Landis Dauber

Affiliated Scholar

Michele Landis Dauber is an associate professor of law and the Bernard D. Bergreen faculty scholar at Stanford Law School. She has a Ph.D. from Northwestern University and a J.D. from the Northwestern University School of Law. Prior to joining the Stanford Law School faculty, she served as a law clerk to Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stephen Reinhardt and as a research fellow at the American Bar Foundation focusing on the history of welfare law.

Dauber’s groundbreaking research into the history of the welfare state in the United States has injected fresh ideas into the debate on the future of the social safety net in America. She is a frequent commentator on Social Security, unemployment benefits, single-payer health care, and relief for victims of the housing crisis, in a number of publications including The American Prospect and in an article for the Center, entitled “The Hazards and Vicissitudes of Social Security Privatization.”

Dauber’s publications include The Sympathetic State (2012) and “The War of 1812, September 11th, and the Politics of Compensation,” DePaul Law Review (2003). She has also edited the volume of the Northwestern University Law Review Symposium, Throwing Away the Key: Social and Legal Responses to Child Molesters, and numerous articles in Legal Times and other legal publications.

Major works:



  • “The Sympathetic State,” Law And History Rev. (2005).
  • “The Big Muddy” (Response to Richard Sander’s Systemic Analysis of Affirmative Action), Stan. L. Rev. (2005)
  • “Judicial Review and the Power of the Purse” (Reply to Howard Gillman, Disaster Relief, “Do Anything” Spending Powers, and the New Deal: Comment on “The Sympathetic State”), Law And History Rev. (2005).
  • “The War of 1812, September 11th, and the Politics of Compensation.” Stanford Law School, Public Law Working Paper No. 74. December 2003.
  • “Fate, Responsibility, and “Natural” Disaster Relief: Narrating the American Welfare State,” 33 L & Soc. Rev. 257 (1999).
  • “Let me next time be ‘tried by fire’”: Disaster Relief and the Origins of the American Welfare State,” 1789-1874, 92 NW. U. L. Rev. 967 (1998).