For Immediate Release
Political Scientist Receives National Social Science Dissertation AwardWashington, DC--Paul M. Collins, Jr., Assistant Professor of Political Science at the
Collins’ dissertation on interest group activity in the U.S. Supreme Court, “Friends of the Supreme Court: Examining the Influence of Interest Groups in the U.S. Supreme Court, 1946-2001,” analyzes how organized interests influence the decision making patterns of Supreme Court justices. Incorporating theories from political science, empirical legal studies, and social psychology, Collins finds that pressure groups are effective in their attempts to influence the justices’ decision making. According to Collins, “this research reveals that Supreme Court decision making is more than a function of the justices’ attitudes and values. Indeed, it appears that the justices take persuasion attempts advanced by organized interests very seriously.”
“As a student, Paul was truly a pleasure to work with. He came to
For Harold J. Spaeth, Research Professor of Law and Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Michigan State University, Paul’s dissertation is “nothing short of a tour de force” and he expects it “to become the definitive work on amicus curiae participation and influence” on the United States Supreme Court. Professor Spaeth was especially impressed with the blend of theoretical innovation and methodological rigor of Paul’s dissertation.
J. David Hacker, Assistant Professor of History at Binghamton University and a member of Paul’s dissertation committee, said, “Paul’s dissertation is an excellent example of what we want from our students’ dissertations: an original and significant contribution to knowledge on an important subject, carefully researched, and beautifully written.”
In addition to this award, Collins has received a number of other honors, including two Congressional Quarterly Press Awards from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association for the best papers written by a graduate student on law and courts. Collins’ research has been published, or is forthcoming, in a variety of journals, including The Justice System Journal, Law and Social Inquiry, Law and Society Review, and Political Research Quarterly.
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