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Theodore Ruger

Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law

Theodore Ruger

Theodore Ruger brings fresh insight to the study of some of the oldest questions of American law – namely the theoretical justifications for, and empirical contours of, the application of judicial authority. In exploring these issues, Ruger supplements traditional legal analysis with the methods of other disciplines, including history and political science. Continue reading…

Articles and Book Chapters

After the FDA: A Twentieth-Century Agency in a Postmodern World, in FDA IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: THE CHALLENGES OF REGULATING DRUGS AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES (Holly Fernandez Lynch and I. Glenn Cohen, eds, Columbia U. Press, 2015).
[Available Here]

Money, Sex, and Religion--The Supreme Court's ACA Sequel, 371 NEW ENG. J. MED. 862 (2014) (with George J. Annas and Jennifer Prah Ruger).

"Our Federalism" Moves Indoors, 38 J. HEALTH POL. POL'Y. & L. 283 (2013).

Health Policy Devolution and the Institutional Hydraulics of the Affordable Care Act, in THE HEALTH CARE CASE: THE SUPREME COURT'S DECISION AND ITS IMPLICATIONS (Nathaniel Persily, Gillian E. Metzger and Trevor W. Morrison, eds., Oxford, 2013).

Of Icebergs and Glaciers: The Submerged Constitution of American Healthcare, 75 LAW & CONTEMP. PROBS. 215 (2012).

Failure by Obsolescence: Regulatory Challenges for the FDA in the Twenty-First Century, in REGULATORY BREAKDOWN: THE CRISIS OF CONFIDENCE IN U.S. REGULATION 245 (Cary Coglianese ed., University of Pennsylvania Press 2012).
[Available Here]

The Story of FDA v. Brown & Williamson and the Norm of Agency Continuity, in STATUTORY INTERPRETATION STORIES 334 (Eskridge, Frickey & Garrett, eds. 2011).

Plural Constitutionalism and the Pathologies of American Healthcare, 120 YALE L. J. ONLINE 347 (2011).

A New Deal in a World of Old Ones, 42 ARIZ. ST. L.J. 1297 (2010).

Can A Patient-Centered Ethos Be Other-Regarding? Ought It Be?, 45 WAKE FOREST L. REV. 1513 (2010).

Health Law's Coherence Anxiety, 96 GEO. L.J. 625 (2008).

Chief Justice Rehnquist's Appointments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court: An Empirical Perspective, 101 NW. U. L. REV. 239 (2007).

The Chief Justice's Special Authority and the Norms of Judicial Power, 154 U. PA. L. REV. 1551 (2006).

Gonzales v. Oregon and the Supreme Court’s (Re)Turn to Constitutional Theory, 34 J. L. MED. & ETHICS 817 (2006).

Preempting the People: The Judicial Role in Regulatory Concurrency and Its Implications for Popular Lawmaking, 81 CHI.-KENT L. REV. 1029 (2006).

Justice Harry Blackmun and the Phenomenon of Judicial Preference Change, 70 MO. L. REV. 1209 (2005).

Establishment Clause Issues, subchapter in THE LOBBYING MANUAL (William V. Luneberg ed., 3d ed. 2005).

The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, in MAJOR ACTS OF CONGRESS (2004).

New Federalism, 16 WASH U. J.L. & POL'Y. 89 (2004).

Competing Approaches to Predicting Supreme Court Decisionmaking, 2 PERSPECTIVES ON POLITICS 761 (2004).

The Supreme Court Forecasting Project: Legal and Political Science Approaches to Supreme Court Decision-Making, 104 COLUM. L. REV. 1150 (2004) (with P. Kim, A. Martin, and K. Quinn).

The Supreme Court Federalizes Managed Care Liability, 32 J. L. MED. & ETHICS 528 (2004).

‘A Question Which Convulses a Nation’: The Early Republic’s Greatest Debate About the Judicial Review Power, 117 HARV. L. REV. 827 (2004).

The Judicial Appointment Power of the Chief Justice, 7 U. PA. J. CONST. L. 341 (2004).

Note, FDA Reform and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency, 108 HARV. L. REV. 2009 (1995).

More publications can be found here.

Working Papers

The Moral Economy of American Medicine (forthcoming)

Research Areas

  • Constitutional Law, History, and Theory
  • Judicial Independence and Organization
  • Legislation and Statutory Interpretation
  • Health Law and Regulation
  • Food and Drug Law


Penn Law – Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law, (2015-present); Deputy Dean, (2013-2015); Professor of Law (2006-2015); Assistant Professor (2004-06)

Visiting Professor - Yale, Harvard

Law Clerk to Justice Stephen Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court (1997-98)

Williams & Connolly LLP – Associate (1998-2000)

Washington University School of Law – Associate Professor (2001-04)

Law Clerk to the Hon. Michael Boudin, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (1996-97)

Professional Activities

Reviewer: Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics

Member, American Law Institute


  • Legislation
  • Health Law and Regulation
  • Constitutional Law
  • Food and Drug Law
  • Doctors, Death Panels and Democracy

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