I am a Professor of Law and the Sam Nunn Chair in Ethics and Professionalism at Emory Law School. I am also the author of Questions Presented, a regular column in Bloomberg Law, since April 2023. Questions Presented examines thorny issues facing the US Supreme Court and ethics in the legal profession.
My research focuses on: judicial politics, behavior, and strategy; American governmental institutions; and constitutional law, particularly constitutional criminal procedure. I am an expert in Supreme Court oral argument: in a series of empirical studies covering 60 years of arguments, I have identified patterns and prejudices in judicial and advocate behavior, and shown that case outcomes can be predicted based on those behaviors. Here is what Justice Sotomayor and Justice Ginsburg each have to say about how my work has influenced how the justices conduct oral argument. Justice Sotomayor, in comments on the impact of Justice Interrupted, further credited my research with inspiring a change in the rules of the Court’s oral argument and affecting the culture of the Court.
My research utilizes a combination of empirical, formal, and doctrinal methods to examine various aspects of Supreme Court judicial behavior. Past topics include: Supreme Court decision-making, opinion writing, voting, oral arguments, doctrinal development, judicial nominations and retirement, coalition-formation, and agenda-setting through signaling. I have published in over fifty-five peer review and law review journals and co-founded ScotusOA.com, a website devoted to empirical analyses of Supreme Court oral arguments.
As a political science PhD, I am particularly interested in how political institutions interact to shape the law, particularly constitutional law and constitutional criminal procedure. My constitutional work includes examination of how various provisions of the Constitution contribute to its exceptional stability, the role of legislative rules on law-making, public choice problem in legislatures, the use of rules versus standards, the use of federalism to transform minority positions into majority positions, the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) rulings, and the development of same-sex marriage rights.
My criminal procedure work has examined the impact of parole requirements on individual and community rights, the Miranda doctrine’s failure to protect the rights of the innocent, perverse effects of the exclusionary rule, the future of the Terry doctrine, the efficiency of the warrant requirement, use of evolving national consensus analysis in death penalty jurisprudence, the gendered nature of criminal procedure doctrine, and how the Supreme Court has failed to address the most pressing issues in constitutional criminal procedure.
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.