The course will consist of two parts. Part I will address how politics affects the judicial process in the U.S., and examine state courts and judges, the criminal justice system, lower federal courts and appellate review, judicial policymaking, and judicial selection across the American judicial system. Part II will focus on how politics affects the Supreme Court.
This special topic course will examine the ways in which interest groups interact in and affect the judicial process, particularly at the Supreme Court level. Topics covered include the theory of interest groups in American politics, interest groups and the federal judicial confirmation process, interest groups in judicial elections, and interest group participation in litigation and “cause” lawyering. The course will provide students with the theoretical and empirical background to examine and assess current political events such as the recent Sotomayor appointment, the controversy surrounding special interest spending in judicial elections, and the contemporary importance of conservative interest group litigation.
A study of the general powers and limits of the branches of the national government and the relationship among the levels of government, as this has affected civil rights and individual liberties under the Constitution.
U.S. Supreme Court studies, judicial decision making, and comparative judicial politics.