About

Northwestern Law portraits on Monday, August 5, 2013. Photos by Jasmin Shah.

I am a Professor of Law at Northwestern Pritzker Law School. My research focuses on: judicial politics, behavior, and strategy; American governmental institutions; and constitutional law, particularly constitutional criminal procedure.

The driving question in my research is: how do judges respond to institutional constraints? This includes vertical constraints, such as the possibility of review by a higher court; horizontal constraints, such as how to craft a broad coalition on a multi-judge panel; as well as judicial role constraints, such as how can judges address an issue they are interested in if the parties have not argued that question before the court.

I use a combination of doctrinal, empirical and formal analysis to predict and analyze strategic judicial strategy and behavior, with particular focus on Supreme Court justices. A lot of scholarship is devoted to disagreements about what judges care about, but I prefer to address the question from the other end of the debate: to consider the competing assumptions people make about what judges care about, map out the implications of those assumptions, and then ask whether the evidence we have really fits the predictions.

A second aspect of my work addresses the related question of how judges attempt to shape the behavior of other parties before the court. This includes how judges signal the sort of cases they would like to hear or how the nomination process should play out. I also develop this inquiry through my primary doctrinal area, constitutional criminal procedure. In Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendment jurisprudence, the Supreme Court explicitly seeks to shape police and criminal incentives. Yet I show that many doctrines in this area create perverse incentives, often protecting the guilty and failing to protect the innocent. This raises a normative doctrinal implication: applying similar strategic analysis to Court doctrine shows where legal reform will be most effective.

I earned my PhD in Political Science from Stanford University, where I wrote my dissertation on separation of powers constraints on the judiciary. I also hold a Masters from the University of California, Berkeley, a law degree with First Class Honors from the Australian National University, and a bachelors degree with First Class Honors, also from the Australian National University.

My CV is available here.