Rachel L. Brand

Rachel Brand is an Associate Professor at George Mason University’s Antonin Scalia Law School.  Professor Brand is an expert in national security and homeland security law and policy, as well as federal law enforcement matters, judicial appointments, and the federal regulatory process.

Professor Brand’s expertise in counterterrorism and intelligence issues arises from government service during two presidential Administrations.  Since 2012, she has served as one of five Senate-confirmed presidential appointees on the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), an independent federal agency that oversees and advises other agencies’ counterterrorism activities.  In that capacity, she has been deeply involved in legal and policy questions concerning federal counterterrorism efforts, particularly foreign intelligence collection by the CIA, NSA, and other agencies under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and Executive Order 12333.  She has frequently appeared in international fora to explain how law and oversight govern counterterrorism activities in the United States.  She was also directly involved in policymaking on counterterrorism and other national security matters as the Senate-confirmed Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy at the United States Department of Justice from 2005 to 2007, after serving from 2003 to 2005 as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General.  While serving as chief policy advisor to the Attorney General and overseeing the Department of Justice’s major policy initiatives, Professor Brand focused particularly on national security issues, including the drafting and implementation of the USA PATRIOT Act reauthorization legislation, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), and the Attorney General’s guidelines for national security investigations.  Prior to her tenure at the Justice Department, Professor Brand served from 2001-2002 as Associate Counsel to the President at the White House, where she advised the President and White House staff on a wide range of constitutional and other legal issues.  She was serving in the White House during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and had primary responsibility for drafting the Executive Order that created the Homeland Security Council and other Executive Orders providing for continuity of government.   

Professor Brand has substantial experience with homeland security policy as well, including work on immigration enforcement, border security, and watchlisting.  In addition to her experience at the Department of Justice and PCLOB, Professor Brand created and taught a course on immigration enforcement and reform as an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School.      

Professor Brand is also a leading expert on the federal judicial appointments process.  She was involved in selecting federal judges and Supreme Court justices at both the White House and the Justice Department.  At the White House, she ran the selection process for numerous judges appointed to federal courts around the country.  While head of the Office of Legal Policy, Professor Brand continue be involved in judicial selection and oversaw the Administration’s efforts to secure Senate confirmation of the President’s nominees to the trial and appellate courts.  Professor Brand was also involved in vetting candidates for appointments to the Supreme Court of the United States and was centrally involved in the Administration’s efforts to secure confirmation of Chief Justice John G. Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito.    

Other areas of continued interest for Professor Brand are criminal justice policy and federal regulatory reform.  Her expertise in criminal justice stems from her experience as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Policy, where she oversaw policy initiatives concerning drug enforcement, immigration enforcement, violent crime, firearms and explosives, child exploitation, crime victims’ rights, criminal procedural reforms, and identity theft, among other issues.  Professor Brand also oversaw the Justice Department’s regulatory process, serving as the Regulatory Policy Officer responsible for approving all regulations promulgated by the Department.  After leaving government, she served as the Vice President and Chief Counsel for Regulatory Litigation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where she managed the Chamber’s lawsuits challenging unlawful federal regulations by agencies such as the SEC, CFTC, NLRB, EPA, and DOL.  During her tenure at the U.S. Chamber, she served as outside counsel to the Noel Canning Company in its successful constitutional challenge to President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. 

Professor Brand served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States during the 2002-2003 Term and to Justice Charles Fried of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.   Professor Brand earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota. 

Professor Brand is a frequent public speaker, has appeared in numerous media outlets, and has testified in Congress concerning counterterrorism policy, judicial administration, and other issues. 

Professor Brand is the Chairman of the Federalist Society’s Litigation Practice Group and Co-Chair of the American Bar Association Administrative Law Section’s Government Information and Right to Privacy Committee. She serves on the Boards of Directors of two non-profits based in Arlington, Virginia—Doorways for Women and Families; and the Little Falls Presbyterian Foundation—and is an Elder in the Little Falls Presbyterian Church.