Research


Within public law, my current research focuses on the role of legal doctrine on the U.S. Supreme Court. Working papers include:

  • “Does Theory Matter? Testing the Influence of Constitutional Theory on Specific and Diffuse Support for the U.S. Supreme Court.” With Matthew E.K. Hall. Invoking some of the leading scholars of constitutional theory (Dworkin, Posner, Barnett, etc.), we put their normative claims about their preferred methods of constitutional interpretation to the empirical test.
  • “Natural Language Evidence for the Existence and Effect of Jurisprudential Regimes.” With Matthew E.K. Hall. Using the tools of natural language processing (NLP), we present new evidence for the way that legal doctrine constrains the voting behavior of Supreme Court justices.
  • “Dogma Within? Testing the Effect of Religious Affiliation on Statutory Decision-Making.” With Devan N. Patel and Matthew E.K. Hall. Examining an original dataset of Title VII claims, we debunk the popular myth that sectarian judges vote dogmatically according to their faith beliefs.
  • Code for some of my side projects is available on my GitHub page.

Within CPT, my current research investigates Heidegger’s encounter with Asian philosophy in the mid-twentieth century. Working papers include:

  • “More Than Method: Laozi, Heidegger, and the Ontology of Comparative Political Theory.” Rehabilitating Laozi’s idea of dao (道) and Heidegger’s idea of Way (der Weg), I argue that contemporary CPT must undertake an “ontological turn.”
  • “Should Theorists Travel? Heidegger and Laozi’s Critique of Comparative Political Theory.” Analyzing a letter sent by Heidegger in 1965, I argue that the Daoist conception of travel offers a useful corrective to the “ethnographic wave” that has swept recent political theory.