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Faculty Focus

On a Shifting Balance of Power

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Catherine SharkeyProfessor Catherine Sharkey, a leading expert on federal preemption in the realm of products liability, won a prized fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

For her fellowship project, Sharkey is examining the established view of preemption and analyzing the expansion of federal power. “I hope to show that the preemption debate is no less than a debate over the fundamental allocation of power between the federal government and the states,” she says, “and one that is not likely to be resolved anytime soon.” Sharkey focuses her teaching on torts. In her research, she has been studying the interplay between private and public law through the lens of torts and products liability. Sharkey combines a love of theory and a devotion to practical problem solving in both her classes and her scholarship. She studied economics as an undergraduate at Yale, where she also received her law degree; her work on the bail bond system and racial discrimination earned her Yale’s prize for the best original economics thesis. As a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, she pursued a master’s in economics.

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