Rachel Barkow is a Professor of Law at New York University School of Law. Her scholarship focuses on administrative and criminal law, and she is especially interested in applying the lessons and theory of administrative law to the administration of criminal justice. For example, in a piece to be published in the Stanford Law Review in 2009, "Institutional Design and the Policing of Prosecutors," Barkow draws from administrative law and institutional design to offer suggestions to control prosecutorial abuses of power. A recent essay in the Harvard Law Review, "The Ascent of the Administrative State and the Decline of Mercy," explored the relationship between administrative law's dominance and the increasing reluctance of scholars and experts to accept pockets of unreviewable discretion in criminal law. In "Separation of Powers and the Criminal Law," published in 2006 by the Stanford Law Review, Barkow contrasted constitutional questions of separation of powers in the administration of criminal law with separation of powers issues in administrative contexts. In Administering Crime, Barkow used administrative law, political science, and a detailed review of sentencing commissions to determine what institutional model works for designing agencies that regulate criminal punishment. In "Federalism and the Politics of Sentencing," published in May 2005 by the Columbia Law Review, Barkow drew upon insights from cost-benefit and risk tradeoff analyses to determine how the politics of sentencing might vary at the state and federal levels. Barkow explored the relationship between separation of powers theory, sentencing, and the historical role of the jury in her article, "Recharging the Jury: The Criminal Jury's Constitutional Role in an Era of Mandatory Sentencing," which appeared in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review (2003). She is also the author of More Supreme than Court: The Fall of the Political Question Doctrine and the Rise of Judicial Supremacy; Delegating Punitive Power: The Political Economy of Sentencing Commission and Guideline Formation (with Kathleen O'Neill); and numerous other works.
Barkow has been invited to present her work in various settings. In the summer of 2004, Barkow testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the future of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. She has also presented her work on sentencing to the National Association of Sentencing Commissions Conference, the Federal Judicial Center's National Sentencing Policy Institute, and the Judicial Conference of the Courts of Appeals for the First and Seventh Circuits. In addition, Barkow has presented papers at numerous law schools.
After graduating from Northwestern University (B.A. 1993), Barkow attended Harvard Law School (J.D. 1996), where she won the Sears Prize, which is awarded annually to two students with the top overall grade averages in the first-year class. Barkow served as a law clerk to Judge Laurence H. Silberman on the District of Columbia Circuit, and Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Barkow was an associate at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans in Washington, D.C., from 1998-2002, where she focused on telecommunications and administrative law issues in proceedings before the FCC, state regulatory agencies, and federal and state courts. She took a leave from the firm in 2001 to serve as the John M. Olin Fellow in Law at Georgetown University Law Center. She joined the faculty of New York University School of Law in 2002.