faculty bio
Clifford Rechtschaffen

Professor of Law (on leave)

San Francisco
  • 415-442-6674


  • Civil Procedure
  • Environmental Law and Policy
  • Environmental Law Clinic
  • Legal Methods
  • Public Natural Resources and Land Law
  • Toxics Law and Policy


  • Environmental Law


JD, Yale Law School

AB, Princeton University


  • Currently a senior advisor to Governor Jerry Brown on energy and environmental issues, and was Acting Director of the Department of Conservation in 2011.
  • Two of Professor Rechtschaffen's articles were selected for special recognition. His article on federal oversight of state environmental law programs was selected through a peer review process as one of the ten best environmental law articles published in 2003, and his article on enforcement of the Clean Water Act was selected as one of the twenty best articles published in 2004.
  • Received a Fulbright fellowship to teach International Environmental Law in Slovenia, 2005.
  • Practiced environmental law with the California Attorney General and was a special assistant to California Attorney General Jerry Brown on climate change issues from 2007-2010.


A Renewable Future: Jerry Brown's Environmental Agenda, 21 Envtl. L. News 3 (2012). With Ken Alex.

Strategies For Implementing the Environmental Justice Vision, 1 Golden Gate U. Envt'l. L. J. 321 (2010).

Payroll Guarantee Association Inc. v. The Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District: Denying Hecklers the Right to Veto Unpopular Speech, ch. in The Great Dissents of the "Lone Dissenter": Justice Jesse W. Carter's Twenty Tumultuous Years on the California Supreme Court (Carolina Academic Press, 2010). With David Zizmor.

Environmenal Justice: Law, Policy and Regulation (Carolina Academic Pressm 2d ed., 2009) w/Eileen Gauna & Catherine O'Neill.

With Denise Antolini, eds., Common Law Remedies to Protect the Environment: A Practical Guide to Heroic Litigation (Environmental Law Institute 2007).

With Joel A. Mintz & Robert Kuehn, Environmental Enforcement - Cases and Materials (Carolina Academic Press, 2007).

Reforming the Emergency Planning Act and Community Right to Know Act, ch. inCPR for the Environment: Breathing New Life into the Nation's Major Environmental Statues, p. 32 (Center for Progressive Reform, 2007).

Toxic Disclosure Should be Expanded, Not Scaled Back, Center For American Progress, Dec. 18, 2006.

Law and Public Policy Support Lockyer's SuitAgainst Auto Manufacturers for CO2 Emissions, California Progress Report, Dec. 11, 2006.

Co-author: An Unnatural Disaster: The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, A Center for Progressive Reform Publication, Sept. 2005.

Environmental Justice, A Center for Progressive Regulation White Paper, March, 2005.  With Eileen Gauna and Catherine A. ONeill.

A New Progressive Agenda for Public Health and the Environment (Carolina Academic Press 2005). Co-author.

Reinventing Environmental Enforcement and the State/Federal Relationship (Environmental Law Institute 2003). With David L. Markell.

Environmental Justice: Law, Policy and Regulation (Carolina Academic Press 2002). With Eileen Gauna.

California Environmental Law & Land Use Practice, ch. inEnforcement of Hazardous Waste Management Requirements (Kenneth Manaster & Daniel Selmi, eds., 1995).

Strategies for Implementing the Environmental Justice Vision, 1 Golden Gate U. Envt'l. L. J. 321 (2008).

Shining the Spotlight on European Union Environmental Compliance, 24 Pace Environmental LR 161 (2007).

The Continued Success of Proposition 65 in Reducing Toxic Exposures, 35 Environmental Law Reporter 10850 (2005). With Patrick Williams.

Promoting Pragmatic Risk Regulation: Is Enforcement Discretion the Answer? 52 U. Kansas L. Rev. 1327 (2004).

Enforcing the Clean Water Act in the Twenty-First Century: Harnessing the Power of the Public Spotlight, 55 Alabama L. Rev. 775 (2004).

Advancing Environmental Justice Norms, 37 UC Davis L. Rev. 95 (2003). Reprinted in 35 Land Use and Environment L. Rev. (2004).

The Evidence of Environmental Injustice, Environmental Law News 2003 (Environmental Law Section, California State Bar).

Appearing on the Next California Ballot: An Initiative to Ban Information, Urban Habitat Policy Paper (2003).

Improving State Environmental Enforcement Performance Through Enhanced Government Accountability and Other Strategies, 33 Environmental Law Reporter 10559 (2003). With Dave Markell.

Independent Actions to Protect California's Environment: What A Difference an Attorney General Makes, 2002 Cal. Envtl. L.R. 157.

It's Time for a Comprehensive State of the California Environment Report, 2001 Cal Envtl. L.R. 120.

Competing Visions: EPA and the States Battle for the Future of Environmental Enforcement, 30 Envtl. L. Rep. 10803 (2000).

How to Reduce Lead Exposures With One Simple Statute: The Experience of Proposition 65, 29 Envtl. L. Rep. 10581 (1999).

Deterrence vs. Cooperation and the Evolving Theory of Environmental Enforcement, 71 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1181 (1998).

The Lead Poisoning Challenge: An Approach for California and Other States, 21 Harvard Environmental L. Rev. 387 (1997).

Fighting Back Against a Power Plant: Some Lessons From the Legal and Organizing Efforts of the Bayview-Hunters Point Community, 3 Hastings West-Northwest J. of Environmental L. and Pol. 407 (1996).

The Warning Game: Evaluating Warnings Under California's Proposition 65, 23 Ecology Law Quarterly 303 (1996).

Toxic Disclosure Should be Expanded, Not Scaled Back, Center for American Progress, Dec. 18, 2006.

Law and Public Policy Support Lockyer's Suit Against Auto Manufacturers for CO2 Emissions, (with Sean Hecht) California Progress Report, Dec. 11, 2006.

Will the Environmentalists Find Their Voice? Once an environmental leader, U.S. now barely follows, (Jan. 4, 2006).

Contributing author. An Unnatural Disaster: The Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Center for Progressive Regulation Report (Sept. 2005).Rechtschaffen, et al., Environmental Justice, (Center For Progressive Regulation, White Paper #505, March 2005).

Using California's Anti-Discrimination Laws to Remedy Environmental Injustice, Environmental Justice Committee Newsletter, ABA Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (Fall 2003).

The Evidence of Environmental Injustice, 2003 Environmental Law News (Fall).

Environment Factors into Proposition 54: Who We Are, Where We Live Affects Health of Most Minorities in State, Los Angeles Daily News (Sept. 10, 2003).

Appearing on the Next California Ballot: An Initiative to Ban Information, Urban Habitat (Sept. 2003).

Sidestepping Regulations: On Environment, Bush Ignores Federalism, (Aug. 18, 2003).

The Bush Record on the Environment: What a Difference Two Years Make, Class Action (Golden Gate University, Spring/Summer 2003).

Why Race Still Matters, (March 28, 2002).

Rechtschaffen, et al., A Survey of Federal Agency Responses to President Clinton's Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice, 31 Environmental Law Reporter 11133 (2001).

Bush's Environmental Policy Relies on the Honor System, Daily Journal (Nov. 1, 2000).

The Perilous State of Citizen Enforcement, Cal. Envtl. Rep. 235 (Oct. 1999).

Birth of a Democracy, Daily Journal (June 20, 1994). With Karen Kramer.

Proposition 65 Warnings: Do They Fulfill the Intent of the Law? Prop. 65 News (Nov. 1993).

Romania's Rapid Rule of Law, San Francisco Recorder (Oct. 6, 1993). With Karen Kramer.


Member of the California Bar