Darien Shanske


Position Title
Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law

1105 King Hall

Professor Darien Shanske holds a J.D. from Stanford Law School, a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in Rhetoric, an M.A. from McGill University in Philosophy, and a B.A. from Columbia University. Before law school, Professor Shanske worked as a financial consultant to California local governments; after law school, he worked as an attorney in the public finance department of Sidley Austin in San Francisco. Professor Shanske then clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Professor Shanske’s academic interests include taxation, particularly state and local taxation, local government law, public finance, and political theory, particularly jurisprudence. Some of his current projects are on the local property tax, the state and local fiscal relationship, the fiscal constitution of California, and the role of reciprocity in Aristotle.

Education and Degree(s)
  • B.A. Philosophy and History, magna cum laude, Columbia University, 1995, Phi Beta Kappa
  • M.A. Philosophy, McGill University, 1996
  • Ph.D. Rhetoric, University of California, Berkeley, 2001
  • J.D. Stanford Law School, 2006
Honors and Awards
  • Associate Professor of Law, UC Hastings, 2008 - 2013
  • Clerk to Hon. Pierre N. Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, 2007-2008
  • Associate at Sidley Austin LLP, San Francisco, 2006-2007
  • Financial analyst at Government Financial Strategies, Sacramento, 2001-2003
Research Interests & Expertise
  • Local Government Law
  • Taxation
  • Jurisprudence


Brief of Constitutional Law Scholars in North Carolina v. Kaestner, No. 18-475 (U.S. Supreme Court)

Brief of Four U.S. Senators in South Dakota v. Wayfair, No. 17-494 (U.S. Supreme Court) (certiorari and merits stage)

Interpreting State Fiscal Constitutions:A Modest Proposal , Rutgers Law Review, forthcoming

The (Now Urgent) Case for State-Level Monitoring of Local Government Finances (Or, One Way to Protect Localities from Trump’s “Potemkin Villages of Nothing”) , NYU Journal of Legislation and Public Policy, forthcoming

Solving 'Problems No One Has Solved': Courts, Causal Inference, and the Right to Education , University of Illinois Law Review, forthcoming (with Chris Elmendorf)

Municipal Finance and Asymmetric Risk , 4 Belmont Law Review 65 (2017) (with Lori Raineri) (invited symposium piece)

Tax Cannibalization and Fiscal Federalism in the United States , 111 Northwestern University Law Review, 295 (2017) (with David Gamage)

How States Can Respond to the AHCA: Using the McCarran-Ferguson Act , 85 State Tax Notes 367 (2017)

A New Theory of Equitable Apportionment , 85 State Tax Notes 267 (2017) (with David Gamage)

The American Health Care Act Would Toss the States a Hot Potato , 84 State Tax Notes 579 (2017)

A State-Level Carbon Tax With Border Adjustments , 83 State Tax Notes 911 (2017) (with David Gamage)

Why a State-Level Carbon Tax Can Include Border Adjustments , 83 State Tax Notes 583 (2017) (with David Gamage)

Tax Cannibalization and State Government Tax Incentive Programs , 82 State Tax Notes 197 (2016) (with David Gamage)

Using Taxes to Improve Cap and Trade: Efficient Pricing , 81 State Tax Notes 807 (2016) (with David Gamage)

The Federal Government's Power to Restrict State Taxation , 81 State Tax Notes 547 (2016) (with David Gamage)

A Research Guide To The California Constitution, Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2014 (With Hon. Joseph Grodin and Michael Salerno). Responsible for introductory section on fiscal history and commentary on Articles IX (Education) (with Joseph Grodin), XI (Local Government), XIII (Taxation), XIIIA (Tax Limitation), XIIIB (Government Spending Limitation), XIIIC (Voter Approval for Local Tax Levies), XIIID (Assessment and Property-Related Fee Reform), XVI (Public Finance), XIX – XIXC (Motor Vehicle Revenue).

Revitalizing Local Political Economy Through Modernizing the Property Tax, TAX LAW REVIEW, forthcoming.

The Philosophy of Tax: A Review of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, JOURNAL OF LAW, CULTURE AND THE HUMANITIES, forthcoming.

Can Formulary Apportionment Save the World?: Apportionment and a State-Level Carbon Tax, CHAPMAN LAW REVIEW, forthcoming (invited symposium piece).

Local Fiscal Autonomy Requires Constraints: The Case for Fiscal Menus, 25 STANFORD LAW AND POLICY REVIEW, forthcoming (invited symposium piece).

Why the Text of the Affordable Care Act Authorizes Tax Credits on the Federal Exchanges: A Response to Adler and Cannon, 71 STATE TAX NOTES 229 (Jan. 27, 2014) (with David Gamage).

Thucydides and the Philosophical Origins of History, Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Thucydides and Law: A Response to Leiter, Legal Theory, forthcoming

The Philosophy of Tax: A Review of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King , Journal of Law, Culture and the Humanities, forthcoming

A New Theory of the State Corporate Income Tax: The State Corporate Income Tax as Retail Sales Tax Complement, Tax Law Review, forthcoming 2013.

A Potential Game Changer in E-Commerce Taxation, 67 STATE TAX NOTES 747 (2013)(with Andy Haile and David Gamage).

The Case for a State-Level Debt-Financing Authority, 67 State Tax Notes 188 (2013) (with David Gamage).

The Trouble with Tax Increase Limitations, 6 Albany Government Law Review 50 (2012) (invited symposium piece) (with David Gamage).

Three Essays On Tax Salience: Market Salience and Political Salience, 65 Tax Law Review 19 (2012) (with David Gamage).

How Less Can Be More: Using the Federal Income Tax to Stabilize State and Local Finance, 31 Virginia Tax Review 413 (2012).

The Saga of State ‘Amazon’ Laws Reflections on the Colorado Decision , 65 State Tax Notes 197 (2012) (with David Gamage).

On Tax Increase Limitations: Part II – Evasion and Transcendence, 63 State Tax Notes 245 (2012) (with David Gamage).

The Supreme Court and the New Old Public Finance: A New Old Defense of the Court’s Recent Dormant Commerce Clause Jurisprudence, 43 The Urban Lawyer 659 (2011).

Going Forward by Going Backward to Benefit Taxes, California Journal of Politics and Policy, vol. 3, iss. 2, art. 14 (2011).

Thucydides and Lawfulness in Thucydides – A Violent Teacher? History and its Representations , (Georg Rechenauer and Vassiliki Pothou, eds. 2011).

On Tax Increase Limitations: Part I – A Costly Incoherence , 62 State Tax Notes 813 (2011) (with David Gamage).

Attention Carbon Auditors: There’s Low-Hanging Fruit in the PAB Regs, 127 Tax Notes 693 (2010).

Above All Else Stop Digging: Local Government Law as a Cause (and Solution) to the Current Financial Crisis, 43 University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform 663 (2010).

What Might They Talk About at a California Constitutional Convention, 37 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 641 (2010) (invited symposium piece).

Engquist and The Erosion of the Equal Protection Clause: An Attempt to Stop the Creep of Irrational Dicta, 61 Hastings Law Journal 969 (2010).

How Should We Govern Ourselves at Home?, 6 Journal of Law, Culture and the Humanities 296 (2010) (review of: Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History, Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, Barry R. Weingast; Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens, Josiah Ober; City Bound: How States Stifle Urban Innovation, Gerald E. Frug and David J. Barron).

Putting the California Constitution (Back) to Work: A Blueprint for Clearing Legal Roadblocks to Proper Infrastructure Finance, 54 State Tax Notes 567 (2009).

Hegel and the Justification for Arbitration in a Modern State, 1 Yearbook on Arbitration and Mediation 445 (2009).

What Homevoters Want and It is Not What You Might Think, 1 California Journal of Politics and Policy 18 (2009) (review of Isaac W. Martin, The Permanent Tax Revolt: How the Property Tax Transformed American Politic (2008)).

Revitalizing Aristotle’s Doctrine of Equity, 4 Journal of Law, Culture, and the Humanities 352 (2008).

Public Tax Dollars for Private Suburban Development: A First Report on a National Phenomenon, Note, 26 Virginia Tax Review 709 (2007).

Four Theses Preliminary to an Appeal to Equity, Note, 57 Stanford Law Review 2053 (2005).