Current Research

Federal Judicial Review

For the past few years, I have been off and on working on a project on the history of judicial review of acts of Congress, primarily by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The foundation for the project is the Judicial Review of Congress database, an inventory of all the cases in which the U.S. Supreme Court substantively evaluated the constitutionality of the application of a provision of a federal statute from the founding to the present.  I expect to make that database publicly available shortly.  The project will culminate in a book to be published by the University Press of Kansas, entitled Repugnant Laws, examining the politics of how the Supreme Court has exercised the power of judicial review relative to Congress.  There have been a number of spin-off publications and papers building on that work, including a forthcoming monograph on the history of judicial review and constitutional politics in the United States that will be published the American Historical Association.

 

State Judicial Review

I am beginning a project on the history of judicial review by state high courts, with a primary focus on judicial review of state legislatures under state constitutional provisions.  That project will take a comprehensive set of cases of judicial review in a large sample of states across American history.  That project will culminate in a book, but I also expect it to generate a series of papers on different periods in American history and different areas of constitutional law.

 

American Political Thought

Oxford University Press will be publishing my text with primary source material on American Political Thought, entitled American Political Thought: Readings and Materials, with a companion website that will include supplemental materials. I am working on a set of papers looking at the canon in American political thought.  I will be delivering the Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lectures in Representative Government at the University of Oklahoma in 2015, which will result in a book to be published by the University of Oklahoma Press, tentatively entitled The Idea of Democracy in America.  Those lectures will focus on American debates over the desirability and nature of democracy from the late eighteenth century through the early twentieth century.

 

Constitutional Theory

I have been producing occasional papers in constitutional theory.  Much of that works revolves around departmentalism and extrajudicial constitutional interpretation, justifications for judicial review, theories of constitutional interpretation and originalism, the purposes of constitutions, and the mechanics of constitutional creation, maintenance and change.  I am currently planning a book project, tentatively titled A Constitution of Deliberation and Choice, exploring these themes.