One of the more interesting moments of the APSA Law & Courts Section business meeting is the announcement of the award winners. I imagine that some of this news is already leaked before the meeting, but I don’t affirmatively try to find such things out so that I can enjoy a brief moment of suspense at the meeting (at least until the meeting program is distributed and I peek). So, the envelope please …. Actually, before the jump, let me thank Stefanie Lindquist (Vanderbilt) and Gordon Silverstein (Berkeley) for providing this detailed information (since I had forgotten a few categories). Also, I’d like to remind everyone that just like the lady from Seinfeld said: “You’re all winners!!!”
Of course, just like with the Academy Awards, the big awards are at the end. There is also a bonus prize at the end of the post for Seinfeld fans.
The 2007 CQ Press Award
Presented annually for the best paper on law and courts written by a graduate student. To be eligible the nominated paper must have been written by a full-time graduate student. Single- and co-authored papers are eligible. In the case of co-authored papers, each author must have been a full-time graduate student at the time the paper was written. Papers may have been written for any purpose (e.g., seminars, scholarly meetings, potential publication in scholarly journals). This is not a thesis or dissertation competition.
PhD Candidate, The University of California, Berkeley
“The Legislature, ‘Lemons’, and Legal Endogeneity: How Manufacturers Force Consumers to ‘Holster’ Consumer Warranty Protection Law ‘Weapons’”
This paper, which applies a new-institutionalist approach to study the interaction of courts and legislatures in developing consumer-protection law, is an impressive display of scholarly knowledge and analysis, doubly so since Talesh wrote the paper as first-year graduate student.
Talesh’s paper draws on insights advanced in the work of Lauren Edelman and others, showing how organizations protect themselves by developing their own internal dispute resolution institutions. These institutions, Edelman shows, consistently are designed in ways that facilitate the advance of institutional interests at the expense of individual rights. Talesh’s work fits within this tradition. Endogeneity theory shows how organizations respond to their legal environments, mediate the law, and managerialize the law, and in so doing transform rights through compliance structures that at times are more symbolic than substantive. Further, it shows how courts consistently defer to these structures and in so doing undermine the very rights that they have proclaimed.
Talesh shows through an exhaustive analysis of legislative history and case law, how manufacturers were able to co-opt internal dispute resolution processes in ways that undercut seemingly aggressive and tough consumer protection legislation.
Talesh, anchors his wonderfully written work in the new institutionalism. He explores the precise mechanisms by which public rights are slowly but inevitably undermined by the managerial imperative as dispute resolution is transferred to alternative arenas that are controlled by organizations against which claims are made, and in so doing are fundamentally transformed so that rights are watered down if not altogether eradicated in favor of managerial interests.
The 2007 Edward C. Corwin Award
The Edward S. Corwin prize is awarded annually by the American Political Science Association for the doctoral dissertation completed and accepted during that year or the previous year in the field of public law, broadly defined to include the judicial process, judicial behavior, judicial biography, courts, law, legal systems, the American constitutional system, civil liberties, or any other substantial area, or any work which deals in a significant fashion with a topic related to or having substantial impact on the American Constitution.
maria dimitrova popova
“Judicial Independence and Political Corruption: Electoral and Defamation Disputes in Russia and Ukraine”
The committee received many outstanding nominations this year, several of which studied the issues of the rule of law, justice and judicial independence in countries other than the United States, implicitly extending the legacy of Edward S. Corwin to countries outside the Anglo-American legal tradition.
In “Judicial Independence and Political Competition: Electoral and Defamation Disputes in Russia and Ukraine,” Maria Dimitrova Popova shows that judicial independence and the rule of law are products of political necessity rather than institutional design. In particular, Popova shows that in unconsolidated democracies, political competition actually hinders judicial independence. She shows that weak incumbents derive greater benefit from dependent courts and are thus more likely to politicize the judiciary than are strong incumbents. Dr. Popova tests this proposition by examining trial win-rates, at various trial levels, of plaintiffs according to their political affiliations. She uses her multi-stage win-rates to test her proposition in two similar cases, Russia and the Ukraine. She looks across different plaintiff groups in both countries sorted by institutional and party affiliation and shows that these win-rates, for a class of cases, are more responsive to the preferences of incumbent politicians in the Ukraine than in Russia. The central irony of Dr. Popova’s finding is that corruption in an unconsolidated democracy can actually lead to the conditions for judicial independence, questioning the very basic relationship, so often assumed, between judicial independence and the rule of law.
The 2007 American Judicature Society Award
The American Judicature Society Award is given annually for the best paper on law and courts presented at the previous year’s meeting of the American, Midwest, Northeastern, Southern, Southwestern, or Western Political Science Association.
j. mithcell pickerill
and cornell clayton
“The Supreme Court and the Political Regime: The New Right Regime and Religious Freedom”
The committee received numerous papers for this competition but in the end, the committee decided that Pickerill and Clayton’s paper should came out on top. The overall objective of the paper is to apply and refine political regime theory as it relates to the United States Supreme Court, and to explain the contemporary Court’s role as an active part of a “New Right Regime.”
The authors’ refinement of political regime theory is based upon theoretical works on the new institutionalism and on insights borrowed from Carmines and Stimson’s issue evolution framework for understanding institutional change. Pickerill and Clayton relied on their revisionist conceptions to evaluate the role of the religious right in the New Right Regime and the role of regime values on the Rehnquist Court’s jurisprudence in the important area of religious freedom.
The 2007 Houghton-Mifflin Award
The Houghton-Mifflin Award recognizes the best journal article on law and courts written by a political scientist and published during the previous calendar year. Articles published in all refereed journals and in law reviews are eligible, but book reviews, review essays, and chapters published in edited volumes are not eligible. Journal editors and members of the section may nominate articles.
“Understanding Public Confidence in American Courts”
Addressing an issue of perennial concern for scholars of law and politics, the Benesh article generates interesting findings about an important debate. The article offers important insights into judicial legitimacy and the rule of law. Benesh exploits a unique data set and, with careful theoretical argumentation and rigorous empirical analysis, she unravels the determinants of support for lower courts in the American system. The article clearly makes an important contribution to our knowledge and understanding of public confidence in the court system.
The 2007 C. Herman Pritchett Award
The C. Herman Pritchett Award is given annually for the best book on law and courts written by a political scientist and published the previous year. Case books and edited books are not eligible.
Judges and Their Audiences: A Perspective on Judicial Behavior
(Princeton University Press)
Lawrence Baum has made a career not only of asking important questions, but answering them in novel and intuitive ways. He has done so once again in Judges and Their Audiences.
Baum investigates the true motivation of judges, arguing judges, like most people, care about what people think about them. Before discussing why he believes judges’ audiences matter, he first reviews the prevailing theories of judicial behavior, legal, attitudinal, and strategic, and finds them somewhat unsatisfying, in large part because they all share a common assumption: that judges, especially U.S. Supreme Court justices, “act solely on their interest in the substance of legal policy, whether that interest in centered on policy or on a combination of law and policy” Thus, other goals do not matter. But Baum argues that however attractive this assumption may be, judges are people who ordinarily do not act with such a singular, logical focus.
Instead, Baum contends the “opportunity to win deference and admiration” from others may be among the most important of judges’ motivations. These audiences, of course, differ for the myriad of judges, and Baum considers these various audiences, whether they be judges’ colleagues on the bench, the public, politicians in other branches of government, lawyers and other professional groups, or even the media in general and Linda Greenhouse, of the New York Times, in particular.
There is much in this book to like, irrespective of one’s philosophy or scholarly perspective. While Baum limits his analysis to higher courts in the U.S., it seems that his thesis may be applicable to other courts as well, and one easily can imagine audiences playing a vital role not only for lower court judges in the U.S., but for judges in other countries as well. The broad applicability of Baum’s thesis is just one of the reasons we chose Larry Baum’s Judges and Their Audiences: A Perspective on Judicial Behavior for the 2007 Pritchett Award.
The 2007 Wadsworth Publishing Award
The Wadsworth Publishing Award is given annually for a book or journal article, 10 years or older, that has made a lasting impression on the field of law and courts. Only books and articles written by political scientists are eligible; single-authored works produced by winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award are not eligible.
The 2007 Wadsworth Publishing Award
h.w. perry, jr.
Deciding to Decide: Agenda Setting in the United States Supreme Court”
(Harvard University Press, 1991)
The nomination for this award succinctly captures this book’s lasting contribution to our field:
“Perry pushed the boundaries of qualitative research on the Supreme Court, using interviews with clerks and sitting justices; the use of interviews with clerks has been more widely adopted since, but his data remains an impressive accomplishment. Perry skillfully blended in his analysis both strategic/ideological factors for granting certiorari with legal/institutional factors, in ways that anticipated more recent developments in thinking about the Court. Still widely read and taught, his book generated new propositions for testing and remains a touchstone citation for discussions of this central area of Supreme Court decision making.”
How does one gauge the extent to which a book or article has made a lasting impression on our field? One could turn to quantitative evidence in citation counts from the Social Science Citation Index. Dozens of books and articles, one would learn, have used Perry’s work to build their arguments. Perry’s influence on studies of certiorari and Supreme Court agenda-setting is evident, but it extends to broader studies of Court decision making as well. Another indicator of a work’s lasting impression is the use of an unprecedented research methodology. In Perry’s case, this was seen in his extensive interviewing of justices and clerks. Although interviews were not novel, Perry took this approach further by interviewing five justices, 64 former clerks, and other critical players like appellate court judges and Solicitors General. Finally, another indicator of work with a lasting impression is that it anticipates future scholarly developments. Perry’s research presages, for instance, the growing interest in strategic choices on the Court. In short, we are pleased to recognize the lasting impact of Perry’s Deciding to Decide by awarding it the 2007 Wadsworth Publishing Award.
The 2007 Law and Courts Award for
Teaching and Mentoring
The Teaching and Mentoring Award recognizes innovative teaching and instructional methods and materials in law and courts. The Teaching and Mentoring Award recognizes innovation in instruction in law and courts. Examples of innovations that might be recognized by this award include (but are not limited to) outstanding textbooks, web sites, classroom exercises, syllabi, or other devices designed to enhance the transmission of knowledge about law and courts to undergraduate or graduate students. The Teaching and Mentoring Award is supported by a contribution from the Division for Public Education of the American Bar Association. Any member of the Section may make a nomination for the Teaching and Mentoring Award by submitting to each member of the award committee a statement identifying the nominee and outlining the nature of the nominee’s innovation and the contribution it makes to achieving the purposes of the award. The Teaching and Mentoring Committee also advises the Organized Section on matters related to teaching and mentoring of students and colleagues.
The 2007 Law and Courts Award for
Teaching and Mentoring
University of Georgia
A charter member of the University of Georgia’s Teaching Academy and a two-time winner of that institution’s coveted Josiah Meigs Award for outstanding teaching, Susette Talarico’s achievements in the teaching and mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students have been rightly recognized by a parade of honors. Upon her retirement, the Department of Political Science’s Teaching Award was named in her honor. Endowed by her former students, the fund generated so many contributions that it will now support not only the award itself, but student research award, and public lectures as well.
These accolades are richly deserved for a devoted teacher and mentor who made major contributions to the University of Georgia, not only in the classroom, but in her role as the driving force in the creation and development of an interdisciplinary undergraduate degree program in Criminal Justice. Talarico taught sixteen different undergraduate courses and eight distinct graduate seminars in Criminal Justice, Law, and Political Science, including special topics classes for which she received no compensation simply because she believed they were essential to the curriculum. In addition to directing eleven doctoral dissertations and serving on over fifty graduate committees, Talarico organized teaching seminars, mentoring programs and workshops in her own department as well as across the Georgia campus for faculty and graduate students alike.
Talarico’s role as teacher and mentor extended to the broader profession as well, having chaired the APSA Committee on the Status of Women from 1982 to 1985, helping to launch a monograph series focusing on women in politics. Talarico took special pains to help junior women in our field, mentoring them through the publication process, inviting them to conferences she hosted, and serving as a friend and mentor to the Judicial Women’s Working Group. This Committee is distinctly privileged to award this honor to Susette Talarico.
The Law and Courts
Lifetime Achievement Award
The Lifetime Achievement Award honors a distinguished career of scholarly achievement and service to the Law and Courts field. Nominees must be political scientists who are at least 65 years of age or who have been active in the field for at least 25 years. Nominations from previous competitions will be carried forward to the current year’s competition. The committee will retain nominations for 3 years, but one may re-nominate an individual and renew the materials in the file. Committee members may not make nominations for this award.
The University of North Carolina, Charlotte
This year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award is Saul Brenner. Professor Brenner is a prolific scholar whose work has reshaped our understanding of the United States Supreme Court by raising new issues and challenging conventional wisdom while introducing a wide variety of theoretical perspectives and data sources for systematic empirical research. It simply is not possible to study the Supreme Court without reference to Brenner’s important insights.
While Brenner has applied his considerable talents to a range of subjects, perhaps most impressive are his studies of decisional fluidity and strategic behavior in the Supreme Court, including the case selection and opinion assignment process. In this regard, Brenner was among the first scholars of judicial politics to embrace the use of formal theory and to provide strategic accounts of the Court. This work continues to inspire new ideas and serves as a foundation for the research agendas of many judicial politics scholars currently working in the field.
Another hallmark of Brenner’s career is his foresight in investing time, energy, and creativity in developing new data sources. Among other things, Brenner has been an innovator in using the justices’ papers to develop systematic data for the analysis of decision making, initiating what has become common practice for students of the Supreme Court. In fact, his original conference votes data underlie much of the success of the Unites States Supreme Court Database, one of the most frequently used sources in the discipline.
So … you’re still here? Well, Seinfeld fans “you’re all winners” and you earned it – here it is: