Steph Tai

Professor of Law

Tai, Steph

Contact

tai2@wisc.edu
608-890-1236
Room 8104, Law School

Curriculum Vitae

Education

J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
Ph.D., Tufts University
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Biography

Steph Tai's scholarly research examines the interactions between environmental and health sciences and administrative law. These include the consideration of scientific expertise and environmental justice concerns by administrative and judicial systems, and as well as the role of scientific dialogues in food systems regulation, and the ways in which private governance incorporates scientific research.  Professor Tai was an adjunct law professor at Georgetown from 2002-2005 and a visiting professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law during the 2005-06 academic year. Teaching interests include administrative law, environmental law, food systems law, environmental justice, risk regulation, contracts (especially private governance and supply chains!), and comparative Asian environmental law.

Raised in the South by two chemists, Professor Tai decided to combine their chemistry background with a legal education to improve the use of science in environmental protection. At Georgetown, Professor Tai was the Editor-in-Chief of theGeorgetown International Environmental Law Review and was a member of the Georgetown Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Team.

After graduating from Georgetown, Professor Tai worked as the editor-in-chief of the International Review for Environmental Strategies, a publication by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in Japan. Professor Tai has also served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Ronald Lee Gilman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.  Professor Tai then worked as an appellate attorney in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, briefing and arguing cases involving a range of issues, from the protection of endangered cave species in Texas to the issuance of dredge and fill permits under the Clean Water Act.  From 2013-2014, Professor Tai served as a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow as a researcher in the Federal Judicial Center.

Professor Tai actively represents amici in federal circuit court and Supreme Court cases.  During the summer before joining the Wisconsin Law School faculty, Professor Tai teamed up with several other law professors to work on two Supreme Court amicus briefs: one for a group of legislators in Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy Corp., No. 05-0848, and another for a group of scientists in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, No. 05-1120.  Professor Tai still continues this work, representing commercial fishers in Entergy Corp. v. Environmental Protection Agency, Nos. 07-588, 07-589, 07-597; organic farmers in Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, No. 09-475; former senior environmental agency officials in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Nos. 11-338, 11-347; and prominent climate scientists in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency, D.C. Cir. Nos. 15-1363 et al. 

Professor Tai's leisure time is spent lifting weights, boxing, reading fiction, listening to terrible pop punk, scouring farmers' markets, and annoying a rescue iguana named Megyn Kelly.


Publications

SSRN

Law Repository

Activities & Scholarship

  • Steph Tai was a panel participant in "Scientists in Public Service: Running for Office as a STEM Candidate at Sigma Xi's 2019 Annual Meeting & Student Research Conference, held in Madison in November 2019.

  • An amicus brief written by Steph Tai was referenced by Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer during oral argument in County of Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund (see page 44). The brief was written for aquatic scientists and scientific societies on behalf of the respondents.

  • Steph Tai participated on the panel, "What Is Food and Who Decides? Current Debates about Milk and Meat" in October 2019 at UW-Madison's Holtz Center. Watch a video of the event.

  • Steph Tai's article, "Legalizing the Meaning of Meat," is forthcoming in 2020 in Loyola Law Journal, based at Loyola School of Law in Chicago.

  • Steph Tai submitted an amicus brief in Maui v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund on behalf of four aquatic scientists and eight national and international scientific societies. The amicus brief adds expert insight into the Clean Water Act case before the Supreme Court next fall.

  • Skylar Croy's article, "When 'Ministers of Justice' violate rules of professional conduct during plea bargaining: Contractual Consequences," has been accepted for publication in the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. Croy, who graduated in May, wrote the article for Steph Tai's Contracts II class.

  • Steph Tai presented "Legalizing the Meaning of Meat" at the International Conference on Food Law and Policy: Food Safety and Technology Governance, which was held in Taiwan in May.


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