Portrait of Professor Gillian Metzger outside Columbia Law School building, wearing blazer and smiling.

Gillian Metzger

  • Harlan Fiske Stone Professor of Constitutional Law

J.D., Columbia Law School, 1996
B. Phil., University of Oxford, 1990
B.A., Yale University, 1987

Areas of Study
Areas of Specialty

Constitutional Law
Administrative Law
Federal Courts

A leading administrative and constitutional law scholar, Gillian Metzger ’96 writes and teaches in the areas of administrative law, constitutional law, and federal courts, with an emphasis on federalism and privatization. She was named senior counselor at the Department of Justice in 2021.

Metzger’s recent work covers topics ranging from constitutional attacks on the administrative state to administrative constitutionalism and the role of administrative agencies in a polarized world. In 2015, Metzger won the American Bar Association Administrative Law Section Annual Scholarship Award for “The Constitutional Duty to Supervise,” which examined presidential control and oversight of the modern administrative state. She is a co-editor of Gellhorn & Byse’s Administrative Law: Cases and Comments, 12th ed. (Foundation Press, 2018), a seminal administrative law casebook, as well as The Health Care Case: The Supreme Court’s Decision and Its Implications (Oxford University Press, 2013), which looked back at the landmark 2012 Affordable Care Act case. 

In 2012, Metzger helped launch Columbia Law School’s Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG)—where she now serves as faculty director—a nonpartisan legal and policy organization devoted to the study of constitutional structure and authority. CCG brings together a diverse group of constitutional scholars to explore policy areas such as health care, civil rights, immigration, financial regulation, and national security.

Metzger also has co-authored and filed numerous amicus briefs in major constitutional and administrative law challenges before the Supreme Court and other courts. Most recently, Metzger filed a brief in Seila Law Center v. CFPB, a separation of powers challenge, and in Kisor v. Wilkie, a case involving judicial deference to agencies. She has also filed briefs in cases involving reproductive rights and the Affordable Care Act, among others.

In 2014, the Law School’s graduating class awarded Metzger the Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching, recognizing, among many other accomplishments, her commitment to mentoring new generations of law students in particular.

Previously, Metzger served as vice dean of intellectual life at Columbia Law School. Before joining the Law School, she worked as an attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice. Metzger also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59 and Judge Patricia M. Wald of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In 2018, Metzger moderated a panel discussion with Justice Ginsburg on impact litigation at Columbia Law School.

Metzger is currently on leave serving in the federal government. 


  •  The Roberts Court and Administrative Law, 2019 Supreme Court Review
  • The Constitutional Duty to Supervise, 124 Yale Law Journal 1836, 2015
  • Agencies, Polarization, and the States, 115 Columbia Law Review 1739, 2015
  • Appointments, Innovation, and the Judicial-Political Divide, 64 Duke Law Journal 1607, 2015
  • Administrative Law, Public Administration, and the Administrative Conference, 83 George Washington Law Review 1517, 2015
  • Through the Looking Glass to a Shared Reflection: The Evolving Relationship between Administrative Law and Financial Regulation, 78 Law and Contemporary Problems 129, 2015
  • Delegation, Accommodation, and the Permeability of Constitutional and Ordinary Law, Oxford Handbook on the Constitutional Law of the Administrative State, 2015
  • Administrative Constitutionalism, 91 Texas Law Review 1897, 2013
  • The Presumption of Constitutionality and the Individual Mandate, (with Trevor Morrison), 81 Fordham Law Review 1715, 2013
  • To Tax, To Spend, To Regulate, 126 Harvard Law Review 83, 2012
  • Foreword: Embracing Administrative Common Law, 80 George Washington Law Review 1293, 2012
  • Federalism Under Obama, 53 William & Mary Law Review 567, 2011
  • Federalism and Federal Agency Reform, 111 Columbia Law Review 1, 2011
  • Ordinary Administrative Law as Constitutional Common Law, 110 Columbia Law Review 479, 2010
  • Congressional Authority, and Constitutional Default Rules in the Horizontal Federalism Context, Why the Local Matters: Federalism, Localism, and Public Interest Advocacy (Joint Publication of the Liman Public Interest program at Yale Law School and the National Attorneys General Program at Columbia Law School), 2010
  • “The Interdependent Relationship Between Internal and External Separation of Powers,” 59 Emory Law Review 423, 2009

View an extended list of Gillian E. Metzger's publications.

Honors and Awards

Elected member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences


Columbia University Faculty Mentoring Award


American Bar Association Administrative Law Section Annual Scholarship Award for “The Constitutional Duty to Supervise”


Willis L.M. Reese Prize for Excellence in Teaching



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