Public Law

The Political Science field of Public Law seeks to broadly comprehend how legal systems and actors influence and are influenced by politics and society.

What factors influence the decisions judges make and how do judicial decisions influence other actors in the political system? How do social movements influence the development of law over time? How and why are some groups disadvantaged in the legal system more than others? How and why do legal systems operate similarly and differently in different states and countries? These are among the many questions addressed by students and scholars of Public Law.

In addition to developing advanced critical thinking skills, students taking courses in Public Law through our Pre-Law Concentration to gain the foundational knowledge necessary for thriving in law school and all law-related professions.


Our Public Law faculty members research judicial politics from both an American and comparative angle. Their areas of interest include federal and state judicial selection, judicial decision-making, influence of courts on economic and social policy, role of litigants and outside actors, international law, transitional justice, and constitutional theory. Our faculty work has been published in the discipline’s leading journals and book presses and been supported by prestigious funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation, and this scholarship has been cited in leading media outlets.

Read about our faculty’s recent research, articles written and quotes in leading media outlets on our news page, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Faculty Members

Michael Evans

Public Law, American Politics and Constitutionalism.

Michael Fix

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Public Law/Judicial Politics and Research Methodology.

Robert Howard

Courts as institutions and Judicial politics, Public policy, Constitutional Law.

Stephanie D. Kerce

Judicial Politics, American Political Institutions, Separation of Powers.

Amy Steigerwalt

Associate Professor
Judicial politics/judicial behavior, constitutional law, interest groups, Congress.