Tabatha Abu El-Haj's principal interest is the American political process, including the ways it is structured by constitutional law and the administrative state. With a background in the sociology of law, she is particularly interested in increasing the democratic accountability of political institutions through political participation.
Professor Abu El-Haj has written extensively about the right of peaceable assembly, among other things. Currently, her work focuses on the freedom of association. Professor Abu El-Haj's publications include "The Neglected Right of Assembly," in the UCLA Law Review, and “Changing the People: Legal Regulation and American Democracy," in the New York University Law Review. Other articles by Professor Abu El-Haj include: "Linking the Questions: Judicial Supremacy as a Matter of Constitutional Interpretation," in Washington University Law Review; a book review entitled "The Calligraphic State: Conceptualizing the Study of Society through Law" in the International Journal for the Semiotics of Law; and "Armed Conflict: The Protection of Children under International Law," (with C. Hamilton), in the International Journal of Children's Rights.
Professor Abu El-Haj received her doctorate in Law and Society from New York University. Her dissertation, "Changing the People: Transformations in American Democracy (1880-1930)," documents the rise of municipal ordinances requiring permits for public assemblies and argues that American democracy was fundamentally transformed in the 20th century as the nature of state regulation of democratic politics changed. She received her JD from New York University School of Law, where she was a Furman Fellow and graduated Order of the Coif. In 2005-2006, Professor Abu El-Haj clerked for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.