Author Archives: Aaron Nielson

About Aaron Nielson

Faculty Website Curriculum Vitae

J.D., Harvard Law School, 2007

LL.M., University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, 2006

B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2003

Professor Nielson focuses on administrative law, civil procedure, federal courts, and antitrust. His publications have appeared in journals such as the University of Chicago Law Review, the Northwestern Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, Emory Law Journal, and Southern California Law Review. He currently serves as a public member of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a federal agency that studies the administrative process and makes recommendations on ways to improve it. He also co-chairs the Rulemaking Committee of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice. Previously he chaired the Section's Antitrust & Trade Regulation Committee. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Federalist Society's Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group.

Before joining the faculty, Professor Nielson was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP (where he remains of counsel). He also has served as a law clerk to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr. of the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Professor Nielson received his J.D. from Harvard Law School. Following graduation, he was awarded a Harvard Law School Post-Graduate Research Fellowship. Professor Nielson also received an LL.M from the University of Cambridge, where he focused his studies on the institutions that regulate global competition and commerce. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, majoring in economics and political science.

D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: Sausage Making

by Aaron Nielson — Friday, Aug. 16, 2019@Aaron_L_Nielson

Then-Judge Scalia penned one of the D.C. Circuit’s great sentences: “This case, involving legal requirements for the content and labeling of meat products such as frankfurters, affords a rare opportunity to explore simultaneously both parts of Bismarck’s aphorism that ‘No man should see how laws or sausages are made.’” That sentence came to mind today […]

D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: Of Mice and Cookies

by Aaron Nielson — Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019@Aaron_L_Nielson

As regular readers may recall, I’m opposed — presumptively — to pop culture references in judicial opinions. That presumption is almost irrebuttable when it comes to Supreme Court opinions, which may be read for a hundred years or more. But even in other courts, they should be used sparingly and only after much consideration. “Pop […]

D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: Dead Hands

by Aaron Nielson — Friday, July 26, 2019@Aaron_L_Nielson

I’m on vacation so this will be a quick post. Thankfully, the D.C. Circuit cooperated — we have just two cases. My “con law” friends spend a lot of time thinking about dead hands. Normatively, why is it, they wonder, that decisions made by those who have long since died continue to have legal effect, […]

D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: Another Round of the * Game

by Aaron Nielson — Friday, July 19, 2019@Aaron_L_Nielson

When filing a brief in the D.C. Circuit, “an asterisk may be placed next to those authorities on which the brief principally relies, together with a notation at the bottom of the first page of the table stating: ‘Authorities upon which we chiefly rely are marked with asterisks.’” This prompts a game we’ve played before […]

D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: October in July

by Aaron Nielson — Friday, July 12, 2019@Aaron_L_Nielson

The D.C. Circuit doesn’t hear cases over the summer, but it sure does issue a lot of opinions. Well, except for this week. Today, the D.C. Circuit heard argument. And this week, the Court only issued two opinions. This doesn’t feel like July at all! The D.C. Circuit stops hearing oral argument in May and […]

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D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: 20 Thoughts from Maryland

by Aaron Nielson — Friday, June 28, 2019@Aaron_L_Nielson

I’m in Maryland today — to learn about the D.C. Circuit. Cambridge, Maryland is home to the 2019 D.C. Circuit Judicial Conference.* Because I’m rushing to catch a flight home, this will be a post filled with a hodgepodge of thoughts. (1) If you’re wondering whether we should have Judicial Conferences, here are some thoughts […]

Kisor Deference

by Aaron Nielson — Wednesday, June 26, 2019@Aaron_L_Nielson

When Notice & Comment hosted its two-week symposium on Seminole Rock deference, I insisted on calling it “Seminole Rock” rather than “Auer.” This stubbornness drew hoots from my more nouveau friends but I didn’t see any reason to start using a new name, especially because my sense was that Seminole Rock was still used as […]

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D.C. Circuit Review – Reviewed: Precedential Musings

by Aaron Nielson — Saturday, June 22, 2019@Aaron_L_Nielson

We are nearing the end of June so talk of precedent is in the air. In just the last week, both Justices Thomas and Kagan have defended conflicting theories of stare decisis; the Supreme Court — I think — effectively overruled one case and — I know — openly overruled another; and four of the […]