Yishai Blank

Visiting Professor of Law

Fall 2017

Areeda 132

617-384-5979

Assistant: Thompson Potter / 617-496-5028

Biography

Yishai Blank is Professor of Law and the former Vice Dean for academic affairs at Tel Aviv University, where his teaching and research focus on local government law, administrative law, global cities, urban theory and policy, religion and secularism, sexuality, and legal theory. Professor Blank is a graduate of Tel Aviv University (LL.B. and B.A. in philosophy, both magna cum laude), and of Harvard Law School (LL.M. and S.J.D.). Before pursuing his graduate studies at Harvard, he clerked for Chief Justice Aharon Barak, the President of the Israeli Supreme Court, and practiced law at one of Israel’s leading law firms.

A two-times recipient of Israel’s most competitive research grant (given by the Israel Science Foundation), Professor Blank was also a member of the Young Scholar’s Forum in the Humanities and Social Sciences of the Israeli Academy of Sciences. He currently serves as the chief editor of the Tel Aviv University Law Review. Professor Blank’s articles have been published in law journals in the United States and in Israel, including Stanford Law Review (forthcoming), Cornell Law Review, North Carolina Law Review, Harvard Journal of International Law, Fordham Urban Law Journal, the Urban Lawyer, Tel-Aviv University Law Review, and Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. His work has been reprinted in collections and books on local government law and international law.

Professor Blank is currently working on a book-length project on the legal aspects of the globalization of cities, and their relationship to the changing roles of cities in the emerging new global order. Focusing on the interaction between law, society and space, Professor Blank uses an interdisciplinary analysis, drawing on insights from sociology, geography, urban planning, history and political theory. Professor Blank has been a visiting professor in universities in the United States and around the world, including, Cornell, Brown, University of Toronto (Canada), Queen’s University (Canada), Sciences Po (Paris), Hamburg University (Germany), and the Oñati International Institute for the Sociology of Law (Spain).

Areas of Interest

Yishai Blank & Issachar Rosen-Zvi, Reviving Federal Regions, 70 Stan. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2018).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Administrative Law & Agencies
,
Federalism
,
State & Local Government
Type: Article
Abstract
More than one hundred executive departments and agencies operate through systems of regional offices strategically located around the country. Currently, these regions are misguidedly viewed as mere enforcers and implementers of central policies. We propose two alternative visions of federal regions—regions as mediators and regions as coordinators. These two visions have deep roots in the rich but forgotten history of American public administration. When they live up to their potential, regions inject a much needed dose of democracy into the bureaucracy, improve the coordination among federal departments and agencies, and serve as a powerful check on presidential overreach. As mediators, federal regions mediate between central headquarters on the one hand, and state and local governments on the other hand. Their proximity to the states and regulated populations and industries enables regional offices to counter the democratic deficit that plagues American bureaucracy. Relatively insulated from Washington and state partisan politics, regional officials fuse their expertise with principled politics, and can avoid ceding to the will of the President or his appointees. Our model of federal regions as coordinators envisions them as entities that coordinate among the different departments, agencies, states and localities that operate within their territories. To support our vision of empowered federal regions that can realize their mediating and coordinating potential, we propose a set of legal doctrines and principles that, combined, constitute a new field of administrative law, what we call “the law of federal regions.” Included among these doctrines are broad subdelegation of powers to regions; greater judicial deference to regional policies and decision-making; and intergovernmental consultation and redelegation at the regional level. The Article argues that our innovative understanding of federal regions gives rise to a promising alternative to both the centralizing-national vision and the state-centered vision of the American administration.
Yishai Blank, The Reenchantment of Law, 96 Cornell L. Rev. 633 (2011).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Legal Theory & Philosophy
Type: Article
Yishai Blank, Localism in the New Global Legal Order, 47 Harv. Int’l L.J. 263 (2006).
Categories:
International, Foreign & Comparative Law
Sub-Categories:
International Law
Type: Article
Abstract
Local governments are increasingly becoming major actors in the emerging global legal order. The United Nations, the World Bank, the European Union (EU), and other international and transnational institutions are beginning to view local governments as vehicles for the advancement of policies on a global scale. Local governments are transforming into objects for international regulation and are increasingly used as a means for disseminating and implementing global political programs, financial schemes, and governance strategies. The traditional legal focus on state actors is shifting on to local governments, giving them independent legal status in the new global order. Local governments are obtaining international duties, powers, and rights; enforcing international standards; forming global networks involved in the creation of international standards; and becoming objects of international regulation. It has indeed become impossible to understand globalization and its legal ordering without considering the role of localities: They have become prime vehicles for the dissemination of global capital, goods, work force, and images. The evolving global status of local governments manifests itself in international legal documents and institutions, transnational arrangements, and legal regimes within many countries. To date, however, there has been almost no academic account of this significant legal transformation. International legal theory has remained captive to the centralist and unitary conception of local governments, according to which they are mere subdivisions of states and thus undeserving of any theoretical analysis. And while international legal theorists have analyzed the extension of international law over nonstate entities such as private persons, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and transnational corporations, those same theorists have ignored the profound transformation of localities into independent actors in the international arena. Likewise, local-government scholars have ignored the impeding global pressures on localities, treating the interaction of localities with global and international norms and institutions only sporadically. In contemporary international legal practice and policy making, however, localities are already being recast as independent semi-private entities, no longer mere state agents subsumed by their national governments. United Nations agencies, the World Bank, and various transnational institutions emphasize both the need to delegate and devolve power to local entities and the potential of localities to act like private corporations or other components of civil society. As such, localities' ability to generate wealth and economic growth, their need to be financially viable and self-reliant, and their capacity to promote good governance are given prominence over other traits of local governments. With this reshaping of localities comes a new set of ideas about the desirable relationship between state and local governments, including the ideal level of local autonomy, the ideal division of power between national and local levels, and the amount of flexibility that should exist to adjust that division of power. Many of the legal changes accompanying the new global vision of local entities are only beginning to appear. The activities of a special U.N. agency aimed at formulating a World Charter on local self-government have not yet given rise to a binding international legal document. Regional treatises and transnational agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and membership in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT, now the World Trade Organization (WTO)) have only started to affect localities and local-government laws, while states' and local governments' compliance with emerging international standards is slow and far from complete. Nonetheless, it is possible to predict the results of this transition as well as to analyze its justifications and normative ramifications. This Article attempts to formulate preliminary lines of investigation into consequences of an emerging global regime that expands the role of localities, while also analyzing the normative underpinnings of the role localities could have in a world governed by a multitude of jurisdictions, some territorial, others less so. Part I traces recent changes that demonstrate the new role of localities in international law. Part II analyzes the normative justifications often used to legitimate the transformation of localities into prominent global actors: economic efficiency, democratic potential, and localities' unique role as normative mediators between communities and states. Finally, Part III sets forth a normative and theoretical analysis of the role localities could and should have in the emerging global legal order.

Education History

Current Courses

Course Catalog View

Areeda 132

617-384-5979

Assistant: Thompson Potter / 617-496-5028