William E. Forbath

  • Associate Dean for Research
  • Lloyd M. Bentsen Chair in Law



  • Law and the Shaping of the American Labor Movement (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991).
  • The Unquiet Years, vol. 19 in The American Destiny: An Illustrated History of the United States (Henry Steele Commager ed; London: Orbis, 1986) (with E. J. Dionne).


  • The Great Society and the Constitution of Opportunity, 62 Drake Law Review 1017 (2014) (with Joseph Fishkin).
  • The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution, 94 Boston University Law Review 669 (2014) (with Joseph Fishkin).
  • Workingman's Constitution, New York Times, July 6, 2012, at 23. http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/05/workingmans-constitution/
  • Workers’ Rights and the Distributive Constitution, Dissent, Spring 2012 at 58. <https://law.utexas.edu/faculty/wforbath/papers/forbath_workers_rights_and_the_distributive_constitution.pdf>
  • The Distributive Constitution and Workers’ Rights [Symposium: Reflections on Progressive Constitutionalism: Theory, Practice, and Critique, 72 Ohio State Law Journal 1115 (2011).
  • The Distributive Constitution, 22 Democracy (2011). <http://www.democracyjournal.org/22/the-distributive-constitution.php>
  • Social and Economic Rights in Latin America: Constitutional Courts and the Prospects for Pro-Poor Interventions [Symposium: Latin American Constitutionalism], 89 Texas Law Review 1943 (2011) (with Daniel M. Brinks).
  • The Framers and Us: How Not to Use History to Argue about the Constitution and the Supreme Court, Politico, April 17, 2010.
  • The Will of the People? Pollsters, Elites, and Other Difficulties, [Symposium: Judicial Review: Historical Debates, Modern Perspectives, and Comparative Approaches], 78 George Washington Law Review 1191 (2010).
  • The Politics of Race, Rights, and Needs--and the Perils of a Democratic Victory in Post-Welfare America: Some Reflections on the Work of Felicia Kornbluh, 20 Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 195 (2008).
  • The Long Life of Liberal America: Law and State-Building in England and the U.S., 24 Law & History Review 179 (2006).
  • Working Borders: Linking Debates About Insourcing and Outsourcing of Capital and Labor [conference proceedings], 40 Texas International Law Journal 691 (2005) (with Karen L. Engle et al.).
  • Social Rights, Courts and Constitutional Democracy: Welfare Rights and Poverty in the U.S., 12 Democratization 5 (2005).
  • Rights Stuff, The American Prospect, Sept. 2004, at 37 (reviewing The Second Bill of Rights: FDR'S Unfinished Revolution--And Why We Need It More Than Ever, by Cass R. Sunnstein). <http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=8349>
  • Not So Simple Justice: Frank Michelman on Social Rights, 1969 - Present [Symposium: The Scholarship of Frank I. Michelman], 39 Tulsa Law Review 597 (2004).
  • Lincoln, the Declaration, and The "Grisly, Undying Corpse of States' Rights": History, Memory, and Imagination in the Constitution of a Southern Liberal [Symposium: Charles L. Black, Jr.], 92 Georgetown Law Journal 709 (2004). <http://ssrn.com/abstract=544283>
  • Comparative Avenues in Constitutional Law: An Introduction [Symposium: Comparative Avenues in Constitutional Law], 82 Texas Law Review 1653 (2004) (with Lawrence Sager).
  • The Smart Road Out of Redistricting Quagmire, Austin American-Statesman, July 19, 2003, at A17.
  • The Politics of Constitutional Design: Obduracy and Amendability--A Comment on Ferejohn and Sager, 81 Texas Law Review 1965 (2003).
  • Constitutional Welfare Rights: A History, Critique, and Reconstruction, 69 Fordham Law Review 1821 (2001).
  • The New Deal Constitution in Exile, 51 Duke Law Journal 165 (2001).
  • Civil Rights and Economic Citizenship: Notes on the Past and Future of the Civil Rights and Labor Movements, 2 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor & Employment Law 697 (2000).
  • Not So Simple [Symposium on Pure and Simple Politics: The American Federation of Labor and Political Activism, 1881-1917, by Julie Greene), 40 Labor History 196 (1999).
  • Constitutional Change and the Politics of History, 108 Yale Law Journal 1917 (1999).
  • Caste, Class, and Equal Citizenship, 98 Michigan Law Review 1 (1999).
  • Merit and Diversity After Hopwood, 10 Stanford Law & Policy Review 185 (1999) (with Gerald Torres).
  • The "Talented Tenth" in Texas, The Nation, Dec. 15, 1997, at 20 (with Gerald Torres).
  • Short-Circuit: A Critique of Habermas's Understanding of Law, Politics, and Economic Life, 17 Cardozo Law Review 1441 (1996).
  • Why Is This Rights Talk Different from All Other Rights Talk? Demoting the Court and Reimaging the Constitution, 46 Stanford Law Review 1771 (1994).
  • The Presence of the Past: Voluntarism, Producerism, and the Fate of Economic Democracy, 19 Law & Social Inquiry 201 (1994).
  • The Maternalist Welfare State, Los Angeles Times Book Review, Sept. 28, 1993, at 10.
  • Civil Rights, Economic Justice and the Meaning of the Guinier Affair, Legal Times, June 28, 1993, at 21.
  • Courts, Constitutions, and Labor Politics in England and America: A Study of the Constitutive Power of Law, 16 Law & Social Inquiry 1 (1991).
  • Would European Models of Government Make America More Democratic? A Skeptical View, 16 Law & Social Inquiry 717 (1991).
  • The Shaping of the American Labor Movement, 102 Harvard Law Review 1109 (1989).
  • Deviationist Doctrine and Constitutional History, 42 Radical History Review 33 (1988).


  • Radicalism and the Modern State: A Critique of Republican Nostalgia, 21 Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy 121 (2011) (reviewing The Two Faces of American Freedom, by Aziz Rana).
  • Legislative Deferrals: Statutory Ambiguity, Judicial Power, and American Democracy, by George Lovell, 91 Journal of American History 1057 (2004).
  • Habermas's Constitution: A History, Guide, and Critique, 23 Law & Social Inquiry 969 (1998) (essay reviewing Between Facts and Norms: Contributions to a Discourse Theory of Law and Democracy, by Jurgen Habermas).
  • Taking Lefts Seriously, 92 Yale Law Journal 1041 (1983) (reviewing The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique, ed. by David Kairys).


  • Cultural Transformation, Deep Institutional Reform, and ESR Practice: South Africa's Treatment Action Campaign, in Stones of Hope: How African Activists Reclaim Human Rights to Challenge Global Poverty 51 (Lucie White & Jeremy Perelman editors; Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011) (with assistance from Zackie Achmat, Geoff Budlender, & Mark Heywood). <http://tallons.law.utexas.edu/record=b1723494~S0>
  • Courting the State: An Essay for Morton Horwitz, in 2 Transformations in American Legal History 70 (Daniel W. Hamilton & Alfred L. Brophy, editors; Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010).
  • Social and Economic Rights in the American Grain: Reclaiming Constitutional Political Economy, in The Constitution in 2020 55 (Jack M. Balkin & Reva B. Siefel eds.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • Politics, State-Building, and the Courts, 1870-1920, in The Cambridge History of Law in America 643 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).
  • Labor, in The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (Kermit L. Hall ed.; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005) (with Craig Becker).
  • Not So Simple Justice: Theories of Social Rights and the American Constitution, in Theories of Social and Economic Justice 72 (Andre Van der Walt ed.; Stellenbosch, South Africa: African Sun Media, 2005).
  • The White Court (1910-1921): A Progressive Court?, in The United States Supreme Court: The Pursuit of Justice 172 (Christopher Tomlins ed.; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005).
  • Antitrust Laws; Clayton Act, Labor Provisions; Danbury Hatters' Case; Hague v. Committee on Industrial Organization; Injunctions, Labor; International Labor Organization; Right-to-Work Laws; and Taft-Hartley Act, in Dictionary of American History (Stanley I. Kutler ed.; New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 3rd ed. 2003).
  • Constitutional Dualism, in 2 Encyclopedia of the American Constitution 524 (2nd ed.; Leonard W. Levy & Kenneth L. Karst eds; New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000).
  • Labor Movement, in 4 Encyclopedia of the American Constitution 1554 (2nd ed.; Leonard W. Levy & Kenneth L. Karst eds; New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2000).
  • Caste, Class, and Equal Citizenship, in Moral Problems in American Life: New Perspectives on Cultural History 167 (Karen Halttunen & Lewis Perry eds.; Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1998).
  • Short-Circuit: A Critique of Habermas' Understanding of Law, Politics, and Economic Life, in Habermas on Law and Democracy: Critical Exchanges 272 (Michel Rosenfeld & Andrew Arato eds.; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).
  • Down by Law? History and Prophecy about Organizing in Hard Times and a Hostile Legal Order, in Audacious Democracy: Labor, Intellectuals, and the Social Reconstruction of America 132 (Steven Fraser & Joshua B. Freeman eds.; Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
  • The Role of the Courts of the United States in Asylum Cases, in Enforcing International Human Rights in Domestic Courts 355 (Benedetto Conforti & Francesco Francioni eds.; The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1997).
  • Louis Brandeis, in A Companion to American Thought (R. Fox & J. Kloppenberg eds.; Cambridge, U.K.: Blackwell 1994).
  • Law and the Shaping of Labor Politics in the United States and England, in Labor Law in America: Historical and Critical Essays (Christopher L. Tomlins & Andrew J. King eds.; Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).
  • Labor and the Supreme Court, in The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (Kermit L. Hall ed.; New York: Oxford University Press, 1992).
  • Labor and the Constitution, in Encyclopedia of the American Constitution, Supplement I (L. Levy, K. Karst & J. West eds.; New York: Macmillan, 1991).

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