Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar is the Director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow at the Institute. He is the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science, and a faculty affiliate of the Institute’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law; and Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). Cuéllar’s research and teaching focus on administrative law and governance, public organizations, and transnational security. A member of the Stanford faculty since 2001, he has worked in two presidential administrations, served as Co-Director of CISAC, and has an extensive record of involvement in public service.

During 2009-2010, he was on leave from Stanford serving as Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy at the White House. In this capacity, he led the Domestic Policy Council’s work on criminal justice and drug policy, public health and food safety, regulatory reform, borders and immigration, civil rights, and rural and agricultural policy. Among other issues, Cuéllar worked on enhancing food safety standards, improving capacity and transparency at public health agencies, expanding support for local law enforcement and community-based crime prevention, and strengthening border coordination and immigrant integration. He negotiated provisions of public health legislation, and represented the Domestic Policy Council in the development of the first-ever Quadrennial Homeland Security Review. Before working at the White House, he co-chaired the Obama-Biden Transition’s Immigration Policy Working Group. During the second term of the Clinton Administration, he worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Enforcement, where he focused on countering financial crime, improving border coordination, and enhancing anti-corruption measures.

In July 2010, the President appointed him to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an independent agency charged with recommending improvements in the efficiency and fairness of federal regulatory programs. He also co-chaired the Department of Education’s congressionally chartered Equity and Excellence Commission, and serves on the Department of State’s Advisory Sub-Committee on Economic Sanctions. He was appointed to the Silicon Valley Blue Ribbon Task Force on Aviation Security, and is currently a board member of the Constitution Project and the American Constitution Society.

After graduating from Calexico High School in California’s Imperial Valley, he received an A.B. magna cum laude from Harvard, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford. He clerked for Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and is a member of the American Law Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Director, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (2013 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Harvard Foundation Achievement Award, Harvard Foundation (1993)
  • Connecticut Bar Foundation Scholarship, Connecticut Bar Foundation (1994)
  • Elliott Goldstein Scholarship, Yale Law School (1996)
  • Office of Enforcement Service Recognition, U.S. Department of the Treasury (1999)
  • Lilly and Henry Budde Fellowship, Lilly and Henry Budde Fellowship (1999)
  • Faculty Fellowship, Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation (2003)
  • Faculty Fellowship, Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation (2004)
  • Fellowship, U.S.-Japan Foundation (2004-2005)
  • Selected as author of one of the ten best law review articles on global justice and security, Annual Reader in Global Justice and Security, Oxford University Press (2007)
  • Elected Member, American Law Institute (2008)
  • First Annual Public Service Award, Latino Rotary Club, Fresno (2010)
  • Presidential Invited Address, Law and Society Association (2010)
  • Lawyer of the Year, San Francisco La Raza Lawyers’ Association (2011)
  • Keynote Speaker and Civil Rights Champion Award, Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Silicon Valley (2011)
  • Community Impact Award, Asian Law Alliance (2012)
  • University Distinguished Visitor and Constitution Day Lecturer, Washington University in St. Louis (2012)
  • Annual Barbara Harrell-Bond Lecturer, Oxford University (2012)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Council Member (appointed by President Obama in July 2010), Administrative Conference of the United States (2010 - Present)
  • Co-Chair and Commissioner, U.S. Department of Education, Equity and Excellence Commission (2011 - 2013)
  • Board of Directors, American Constitution Society (2011 - Present)
  • Member, Subcommittee on Sanctions, U.S. Department of State Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy (2011 - Present)
  • Board of Directors and Executive Committee Member, The Constitution Project (2010 - Present)
  • Board of Directors (resigned because of government service) (organization providing advocacy and legal services to refugees in Africa, Latin America, and Asia), Asylum Access, Inc. (2007 - 2008)
  • Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice - Co - Chair, Regulatory Policy Committee, American Bar Association (2007 - 2008)
  • Vice Chair, Rulemaking Committee, American Bar Association (2005 - 2007)
  • Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford Unive rsity - Faculty Steering Committee (resigned because of government service) (2007 - 2008)
  • Task Force on Government Management of the Regulatory Process, OMB Watch (2008 - 2008)
  • Steering Committee, John Gardner Public Service Fellowship (2006 - 2008)
  • President’s Commission on Diver sity in the Legal Profession – Commissioner, Santa Clara County Bar Association (2006 - 2007)
  • Mayor’s Award Jury & Pro Bono Legal Consultant, City of Mountain View (2003 - 2003)
  • Commissioner, Silicon Valley Blue Ribbon Task Force on Aviation Security (2002 - 2002)
  • Pro Bono Program, San Francisco Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights (1999 - 2000)
  • Book Prize Committee, Law and Society Association (2006 - 2007)
  • Book Prize Committee, American Society for International Law (2007 - 2008)

Professional Education

  • Ph.D., Stanford University, Political Science (2000)
  • A.M., Stanford University, Political Science (1996)
  • J.D., Yale Law School (1997)
  • A.B., Harvard University, Government & Political Psychology (1993)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Administrative law and public organizations; domestic aspects of national security; transnational crime; citizenship, migration and the nation-state; public health law.


  • UNHCR Project on Rethinking Refugee Communities, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) (8/20/2013)

    The deputy United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees approached Tino Cuéllar, director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, to form a collaboration between Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) and the UNHCR that would explore ideas to better protect and support more than 42 million refugees, internally displaced and stateless people worldwide.

    These early discussions led to a multidisciplinary partnership involving CISAC, students from across the Stanford campus and at the Hassno-Platner Institute of Design. Professors, professionals and NGOs such as the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Asylum Access, as well as architects with Ennead Architects have all been volunteering their time and expertise.

    The project took on even greater meaning when students from Cuéllar’s Law School class, “Rethinking Refugee Communities,” traversed the globe to test out their technology and design theories in Ethiopia and Rwanda. Representing teams from the class co-taught by Leslie Witt of the Silicon Valley global design firm, IDEO, some 25 students spent the 2013 winter quarter consulting and brainstorming about ways to advance camp communications; food security and economic self-sufficiency; local community relations; and the complicated process of setting up camps for thousands of exhausted and heartsick refugees.


    Ethiopia, Rwanda

All Publications

  • Less than the sum of its parts: institutional realities and legal aspirations in early twenty-first century American immigration CITIZENSHIP STUDIES Cuellar, M. 2014; 18 (2): 141-159
  • Administrative Law: The American Public Law System (forthcoming) Cuéllar , M., et al West . 2014
  • Coalitions, Autonomy, and Regulatory Bargains in Public Health Law (forthcoming PREVENTING CAPTURE; SPECIAL INTEREST INFLUENCE IN POLICYMAKING AND HOW TO LIMIT IT Cuéllar, M. 2013
  • Governing Security: The Hidden Origins of American Security Agencies Cuéllar , M. Stanford University Press . 2013
  • Image of Cover Governing Security: The Hidden Origins of American Security Agencies Cuéllar, M. Stanford University Press. 2012
  • The Political Economies of Immigration Law U.C. IRVINE L. REV. Cuéllar, M. 2012; 2 (1)
  • The Political Economies of Immigration Law UC Irvine Law Review Cuéllar, M. 2012; 2 (1)
  • The Arms of Democracy: Economic Security in the Nation’s Broader National Security Agenda SHARED RESPONSIBILITY, SHARED RISK: GOVERNMENTS, MARKETS, AND SOCIAL POLICY IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY Cuéllar, M., Oxford University Press . 2011
  • The Institutional Logic of Preventive Crime PROSECUTORS IN THE BOARDROOM Cuéllar, M. NYU Press. 2011
  • From Federal Security to Homeland Security: Law, Politics, and Organization in the American Security Agenda THE LEGAL WORKSHOP: U. CHI. L. REV Cuéllar, M. 2010
  • "Securing" the Nation: Law, Politics, and Organization at the Federal Security Agency, 1939-1953 UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW REVIEW Cuellar, M. 2009; 76 (2): 587-717
  • The political economies of criminal justice UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LAW REVIEW Cuellar, M. 2008; 75 (2): 941-983
  • The untold story of al Qaeda's administrative law dilemmas MINNESOTA LAW REVIEW Cuellar, M. 2007; 91 (5): 1302-1368
  • Running Aground: The Hidden Environmental and Regulatory Implications of Homeland Security, 1 ADVANCE THE JOURNAL OF THE ACS ISSUE GROUPS Cuéllar, M. 2007; 45
  • The Limits of the Limits of Idealism: Rethinking American Refugee Policy in an Insecure World, HARV. L. & POL. REV. Cuéllar, M. 2007
  • Crisis bureaucracy: Homeland security and the political design of legal mandates STANFORD LAW REVIEW Cohen, D. K., Cuellar, M., Weingast, B. R. 2006; 59 (3): 673-759
  • Auditing executive discretion NOTRE DAME LAW REVIEW Cuellar, M. 2006; 82 (1): 227-311
  • Refugee Security and the Organizational Logic of Legal Mandates Georgetown Journal of International Law Cuéllar , M. 2006; 37 (4): 583-723
  • Rethinking regulatory democracy ADMINISTRATIVE LAW REVIEW Cuellar, M. F. 2005; 57 (2): 411-499
  • Reflections on sovereignty and collective security STANFORD JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW Cuellar, M. F. 2004; 40 (2): 211-257
  • The Mismatch Between State Power and State Capacity in Transnational Law Enforcement Berkeley Journal of International Law Cuéllar , M. 2004 ; 22 (15)
  • The international criminal court and the political economy of antitreaty discourse Annual Symposium on Treaties Enforcement and United-States Sovereignty Cuellar, M. F. STANFORD UNIV, STANFORD LAW SCHOOL. 2003: 1597–1632
  • The tenuous relationship between the fight against money laundering and the disruption criminal finance JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW & CRIMINOLOGY Cuellar, M. F. 2003; 93 (2-3): 311-465
  • Past as Prologue: International Civil Aviation Agreements as Precedents for International Cooperation Against Cyber Terrorism and Cyber Crime International Approaches to Cooperation against Cyber Crime and Cyber Terrorism Cuéllar , M. Hoover Institution Press . 2001