Trustee Professor of Law, Emeritus
A pioneer in the field of environmental law, David Schoenbrod was at the forefront of environmental justice, taking on big business. Now, his concern has turned to Congress evading accountability to voters.
Professor Schoenbrod’s most recent book, DC Confidential: Inside the Five Tricks of Washington, shows how politicians from both parties take credit for popular promises, but avoid blame for unpopular consequences and points the way to stopping the trickery. He also frequently contributes to the editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and other newspapers and periodicals.
Professor Schoenbrod is a co-leader for Breaking the Logjam: An Environmental Law for the 21st Century project, along with New York University (NYU) professors Richard Stewart and Katrina Wyman. The project is a joint undertaking of NYLS, NYU School of Law, and NYU’s Environmental Law Journal.
Professor Schoenbrod began in law practice as Director of Program Development at the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. He then was a staff attorney for the Association of the Bar of the City of New York Committee on Electric Power and the Environment before heading to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) where he led the charge to get lead out of gasoline, helping to dramatically reduce the amount of the brain-damaging contaminant in the air. At the NRDC, Professor Schoenbrod also served as Co-Director of the Council’s Project on Urban Transportation with Professor Ross Sandler. They co-authored A New Direction in Transit, a plan to renovate the city’s subway system that was endorsed by all the city’s major newspaper editorial boards and ultimately adopted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Professor Schoenbrod’s widely-praised 1993 book, Power Without Responsibility: How Congress Abuses the People Through Delegation, was the genesis for legislation in Congress and litigation that went to the Supreme Court. Also widely-praised is a second book, Democracy by Decree: What Happens When Courts Run Government, written together with Professor Ross Sandler. The Supreme Court cited it in adopting the book’s most important recommendation.
Professor Schoenbrod’s academic career includes former positions at Yale Law School and NYU School of Law. He is a member of the Board of Advisors for the New Civil Liberties Alliance, a member of the Advisory Council for the C. Boyden Gray Center of George Mason University, and a member of the American Law Institute, the Federalist Society, and the Heterodox Academy.
As a member of the American Tree Farm Association, Professor Schoenbrod has managed a woods at his country home in the Adirondacks.