Professor Kathryn A. Watts, the Jack R. MacDonald Endowed Chair, writes about presidential control over the regulatory state, interaction between federal courts and agencies, and U.S. Supreme Court decision making. Professor Watts’s research has been published in numerous top legal journals, including the Yale Law Journal, the Harvard Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, the NYU Law Review, the Duke Law Journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, and the Northwestern University Law Review. Her work has been cited in numerous judicial opinions, including opinions from the Ninth, Tenth and D.C. Circuits. In addition, her research has been recognized with various awards. Her article “Agency Rules with the Force of Law: The Original Convention,” which she co-authored with Thomas Merrill, was honored in 2003 with the ABA’s Scholarship Award in Administrative Law, an annual award given to the best work published in the field in the preceding year. Her article “Visual Rulemaking,” which she coauthored with Elizabeth Porter in 2016, was selected as one of the year’s seven best articles published in the environmental law field and was recognized at the Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review Conference, which is co-sponsored by the Vanderbilt University School of Law and the Environmental Law Institute.
At UW Law, Professor Watts teaches courses in administrative law, presidential power, constitutional law, and Supreme Court decision making. The student body has voted to recognize her teaching with the Philip A. Trautman Professor of the Year Award on three different occasions.
Outside of the law school, Professor Watts is a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent federal agency dedicated to improving regulatory procedures. She also previously served on the Council of the Administrative and Regulatory Practice Section of the American Bar Association.
Prior to joining the UW Law faculty in 2007, Professor Watts earned her J.D., summa cum laude, from Northwestern University School of Law, where she earned the John Paul Stevens Prize for Academic Excellence for graduating first in her class and the Raoul Berger Prize for her senior research paper on the history of general rulemaking grants. She then clerked for Judge A. Raymond Randolph of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and Justice John Paul Stevens of the U.S. Supreme Court. She also practiced as an associate at Sidley Austin LLP in Chicago and taught at Northwestern University as a Visiting Assistant Professor.