Dr Wilson
Most Recent Lectures

The Rise of Populism
A quaint and rational theory for why American politics became crazy
Conservative Radio Politics
A case study in how effective platforming can be
The Cross Examination
Understanding form, technique & strategy
The Direct Examination
Understanding form, technique & strategy
The Power of Legal Relevance
How the law gives discretion to the trial judge
The Law of Privilege
The secrets that even truth will not out
New Democrats and Third Way Politics
What it means, how it came about, why it matters and how to spot it
Republican v. Democratic Imaginations
Which party has an easier time selling its message in the policy game?
Can the Republican Party be a Majority Party?
Looking at national voting data at multiple levels of analysis
Defense Lawyers and Prosecutors
Understanding the lawyers in the system
Using Experts for Adversarial Purposes
The Kennedy Assassination & Casey Anthony
Discovery & Beyond
How to Work Around the Criminal Disclosure System
America v. the Faculty?
The Ideology of the Country Versus the Ideology of its Universities
Frivolous Charges
The Grand Jury and the Preliminary Hearing
The Three Liberal States
Understanding the New Deal, Great Society & Democratic Socialism
The Age of Dealignment
Independents, Personalities, Divided Government & No Mandates
The Domination of the Democratic Party
The political hegemony from 1932 through 1964, and longer with Congress
Courts & Culture
Trial courts in the state and federal system
Pleadings & Arraignment
What the charge looks like, and how the process kicks off
The Rise of the Second Republic
The New Deal and the Neoliberal State
The Law of Search and Seizure
The doctrines that allow free searching and those that require cause-first searching
The Legal Logic of Snooping
What the law says in concept about police searching and seizing
The Politics of Miranda
The legal rules, exceptions, and what the custodial ritual has become.
The Death of the American Party Machine
How reforms in the 1900s killed off the party-boss system.
The Rise of the Party Machine
Party Bosses, Democrats & Tammany Hall
Virtue Politics
Voting in America before political parties arrived
Mental State Defenses
Structure, mistake of fact & the politics of passing new crimes
Citizen Force
The law of citizens who claim the right to intervene
Self Defense and Defense of Property
From Ray Rice to home store robberies, how self help works.
Affirmative Defense (Excuse)
An introduction to affirmative defense, consent & self defense
Critiquing Pluralism
How Pluralism works and where it fails
Comparing Madison and Dahl
What is the real difference between these two philosophies?
Crimes, Elements & Types
An Exploration into the Anatomy of Crime
The Jury
Why do we use them, how do they behave and what does this mean?
Interest Group Pluralism
What James Madison and early Robert Dahl say about legitimate democracy
False Cases
The lawyer's right to present a theory of the case that is factually untrue, and how the system can allow the same to transpire.
Policy Equilibrium
The forces that support and oppose incremental change
Policy Incrementalism
Understanding the logic of stable policy systems
The Social Pageant
Seeing the trial as a public ritual designed to supply the predicate necessary for official consequence.
Course Introduction
The syllabus, the professor and the subject
The Online System
How it works and the rules for watching lectures
The Constrained View of the Supreme Court
What Dworkin and Hamilton have to say about judicial mental states
Attitudinal Theory in Judicial Politics
What is attitudinalism and which justices exemplify this outlook
A Polarized Supreme Court?
How has American political polarization affected the court? A look at unanimity and voting ageement rates.
The Current Court
The current Supreme Court, ideology socres, and what the future may hold.
Contemporaneous Justices
Justices appointed in the recent political era, and what their liberal ratings suggest
The Republican Party Supreme Court
The Anti-Warren Court that arose out of 1970s and 1980s, as told by liberal voting data
The Democratic Party Supreme Court
The Post-New Deal Court that morphed into the 1960s, as told by liberal voting data
Judicial Regimes (introduction)
The basic concept, and a quick look at parties and liberal voting
The Truth About Supreme Court Ideology
How does the Data Set measure this and what do the results show?
The Supreme Court Data Set & The Docket
A look at the Supreme Court Data Set and how it organizes the Supreme Court Docket
The Reading Assignment
Explaining how the so-called book reports work.
The Almighty Federal Sentencing Grid
Everything that was ever wrong with positivism and how modern conceptions of judging have learned to march in step.
The Truth About Riggs v. Palmer
Positivism, legal theory, the statutory state and How modern courts process commands from a sovereign.
The Plain Language Constitution?
Does a plain language constitution really solve the problems or simply create new ones? How do we understand judicial politics after this happenstance?
Bonham and the Constitution
What Happened to the common law after both Parliamentary Sovereignty and the American constitutional aleternative arrived on the scene.
Positivism v. Natural Law
Two philosophies of law that are in fact two different judicial behaviors that belong to the same occupation.
Precedent & Fracture
What is a legal precedent, and when does the Court fail to create it?
Casuistry and Politics
What is casuistry, is it 'political,' and is there a right to receive a tip?
The creation of the common law courts in England, and the significance of this development.
Taney and State's Rights
The death of exclusive spheres and what we now know about judicial regimes.
Gibbons v, Ogden
John Marshall's rather significant commerce clause and his critical premise concerning exclusivity in sphere of powers.
Intro to Federal Power
Introducing Article I, Sec. 8 and its contemporary challenges.
Judicial Review II
Judge Gibson and the ghost debate over judicial review that so captured many contemporary academics who saw only what they wanted.
Judicial Review I
The unique craft that Marshall used in the opinion, a look at Hamilton's views, and also a look at whether the politics-v-law debate is really a false dichotomy
Marbury II
The historic legal issue and the much more historic trial that was never supposed to be. And how Hercules set everything right
Marbury I
The Jeffersonians ascend and the Federalists retreat to the judicial branch at midnight
The break out of American politics and the first major political brouhaha in the high court, which maybe wasn't exactly high (enough) yet
The Early Court
The first judiciary act, riding circuit, and the appointment nobody wanted
Institutional Design
A quick look at the institutional machinery and why the architecture sure was unique
Passing the Constitution
The sausage process and why the new creation was philosophically significant and without precedent
Otis and the Writs of Assistance Cases
How Otis' argument was correct in aspiration but laughable in reality -- the system gave the final say to the will of the British government assembled, period.
The Colonial Setting
The basic conundrum: how do you strike a statute when parliament is the sovereign?
The facts and controversy surrounding what appears to be the first use judicial review, only without any constitution.
From Magna Carta to the Glorious revolution and what they call 'constitutional monarchy.'
Course Introduction
What the subject matter of this course will consist of, and, also, what is a constitution anyway?
Judicial Conservatives Today
How have judicial conservatives in the modern era behaved toward federal power when they had the chance to control the issue? And what does this tell us?
Social Transformation
Putting the evolution of the federal state into a wider social and cultural perspective
To Infinity and Beyond
The state of federal power after Roosevelt's justices are done making their central contributions
The Switch in Time
The fabled and probably untrue story of a Court that caved; instead, the commerce regime emerged on its own right?
Court Packing
Roosevelt's attempt to pack the Court because of its obstruction of the New Deal
The Last Stand
The rise of the New Deal, and Roosevelt's big showdown with the recalcitrant members of the horse-and-buggy Court
Taxing Power
The big trio: McCray, Bailey and Butler, and how industry could protect itself from incentive-behaviorial taxes.
The Industrial Court
Freedom of contract, sick chickens, and the legal doctrines that insulated industry from government meddling.
Laissez Faire
The new corporate power and the Court's protection of maufacturing and child labor.
Judicial Conservatives Today
How have judicial conservatives in the modern era behaved toward federal power when they had the chance to control the issue? And what does this tell us?
The Person and His Demons
Nixon the person: a study in unique personality
The Early Corruption
How Nixon dealt with enemies well before the re-election campaign arrived
The Cover-Up & the End
How the media, the rule of law and good politics ended Richard Nixon's presidency.
The Break-in and Re-election
A look at not only the break-in, but all of the election activities.
Foreign Policy President
An examination of Nixon's supposed strong suit: dealing with Vietnam, China and the USSR
What is centrism? Is it an ideology, and what does it mean to say this?
How the concept of pragmatism properly enters politics
Subject Matter
When ideology is about specific subject matter, and when policy scores become extremely directional.
Proximity & Drift
When ideology is only about proxmity in one dimensional space, and when drift therefore happens.
What is it that separates orthodoxy from other kinds of belief systems? Are orthodox beliefs good or bad, and how do they show up in politics?
Frameworks and Poltical Pathology
What is political ideology? The lecture examines two divergent perspectives: it is a means to understand the world versus a social pathology that blinds our perception
The Imperial Presidency?
Has the US presidency become too powerful in the Second Republic?
Presidential Popularity
An examination of how presidential approval ratings work, and what they mean
Executive Agreements & Orders
How the power of the presidency was affected in the 1900s by the rise of the bureucratic state, the power of executive orders, and the legitimacy of exectuve agreements
FDR & The New Deal
What Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal did to establish the modern prresidency
The Logic of American Government
How Englightenment philosophy influenced American Government and what the institutional logic would have entailed.
Fundamental Rights
An examination of the American logics of fundamental liberty.
Teddy Roosevelt & The New Presidential Power
An examination of Roosevelt the person, the president and the impact of the new presidential power that emerges
Campaigns and Nominations
The system of presidential nomination and campaign
The Enlightenment
What the Enlightenment was and what its implications are for political thinking
From Jeffersonians to Jacksonians
As the plantation state continues its electoral dominance, the presidency continues to evolve
Social Contract Theory
New lessons in how to configure insitutitions
Tied Presidential Elections
What happens when the no candidate receives a majority of the elecoral votes? How does the system handle that?
The Politics of Institutions
How political institutions are dependent upon their social configuration -- a case study in Rome
Jefferson Wins
The outbreak of partisanship and the ascendency of Jefferson through a tied election
Comparing Roman society to midieval european aristorcracy
George Washington
His election, his presidency and how they affected separation of powers
Creating the Presidency
After the dust had settled, what got created and why?
What is representation in a democracy and how is it supposed to work?
Colonial America and Onward
How governmental and executive power was structured in colonial America and in the early states
Are majority attitudes and sentiment good or bad? And what implications might this have for democracy?
Early Configurations of Power
How early institutions configured ultimate political power -- where it should reside and in what forms?
Athens & Direct Democracy
What is it, how does it work, and is it valid?
Historical Precursors
What did heads of state look like before there was an American presidency?
The Course, and the Grammar of Political-Theory Terms
What this course is all about, and, as well, an introduction to the grammar of basic terms in political theory that 'the state'
What is textualism and how is it different from other interpretive philosophies
Text & Virtue
A look at the competing ways in which text is said to be 'followed,' including literalism, conceptualism and canons of construction.
An examination of both the old and new variants, and what this school of thought says about both the philosophy of language and as well the legislative process.
Realism and Pragmatism
The rebellion of Oliver Wendell Holmes and the idea that supreme court decisions are always about social arrangement.
What makes a supreme court ruling true, and what is the role that politics should have?
Is tradition a legally netural or politically biased criterion for deciding whether to create a rule of law?
Finding the intellectual task inherent in acts of speech
New Wittgenstein
The emergence of the new thinking that comes not only to define the philosopher, but that also changes the nature of critical inquiry itself
An explanation of the concept and how to develop a perspicuous sense for its occurence in you and others, as you think and speak
Tractarian Studies
From the earliest Wittgenstein became philosophical all the way to his first resolute answer
Making sense of the local power that trial judges have to lean on cases and to affect the presentation before them. The Lesson? Local power needs a Ronald Dworkin for the system to work.
Given the way that appellate standards of review work, how whould we now understand what an 'error' is in the system? Is the concept of error now something different?
What is the abuse of discretion rule and how it franchises trial judges with power over their courtrooms.
Family Support
How family income transfer system works in child cases involving wealthy people, what the ethics of such a system might be, and what the alternative systems are that seem emergent and likely to affect everyone in the system.
How the rules of relevance work in trial courts: is there really a rule on big matters that have dire stakes for each side?
What marriage is from an historical perspective, how its formation legally occurs and what defenses exist.
Equitable Distribution
How property distribution and wealth transfer works in divorce, and how this issue plays out among the wealthy and high profile cases.
Torts & Society
A broad consideration of the tort transaction in America, what tort reform is all about, and why this area of the law exists the way it does in the first place.
How lawyers create theories of negligence: working the problem backwards so that the clothing fits the kid.
Tort Damages
How damages in tort radically differ from damages in contract, and what this says about this legal domain.
Contract Damages
What ie means to be damaged in contract, and what that says about the larger picture of this domain.
Introduction, formation, defense and excuse
The rules and strategy for both objecting to and examining witnesses.
Trial Process
Jury selection, opening statement, turn-taking witnesses, closing argument, verdict -- and the significance of it all.
The charge, discovery and the politics of depositions.
Case Building
Hiring experts and building your theory of events in both criminal and civil transactions.
False Theories
An examination of the lawyer's right to present a theory of the case that is factually untrue, and how the system can allow the same to transpire
The Jury
Why do we use juries, how do they behave, and what does all of this mean?
The Trial
An exploration of the trial as a social ritual and whether it is designed to uncover an answer or simply provide one at times when necessity requires
Federal Taxation and the Rich
The history of the top rate and of other instruments of taxing rich people
The Verdict on Reagan and the Supply Siders
What the Reagan revolution meant once the dust was settled and two terms of data were in.
Supply-side economics explained and the launch of the new American wealth politics.
What Made Ronald Reagan Unique?
How Reagan was both similar to and different from other American conservatives, and how this demarcation helps to classify everyone else.
The Rise of Ronald Reagan
Conservatives find their soul in a moist-eyed visionary who accepted the New Deal but drew the line in the sand at Great Society.
Johnson's Failure is Nixon's Success
Johnson's failures led to the election of Richard Nixon, who wasn't the domestic conservative some Republicans might have envisioned.
Where are the Conservatives?
The post-New Deal era decimated conservatives as they searched to find how to define themselves in the age of the active state.
Poverty & The Great Society
Grand ideals and political agenda of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Agrarian v. Industrial Partisans
How Jacksonian Democrats are nothing like progressive Democrats, and Lincoln republicans are nothing like supply-siders.
Classical Legal Thought
The orthodoxy captured by Dean Langdell and which tried to imagine law as an autonomous science.
The Legacy of the New Deal
How the New Deal changed the opposition party and forever launched American politics into a modern national paradigm.
Social Transformation
The Rise of the Robber Barons and the Industrial State
(1) Federal Guarantor
Federal bailouts and guarantees as the first underlying principle of the active state.
(2) Bureaucracy & Regulation
The fourth branch of government is now the regulatory state?
(3) Safety Nets and Entitlements
Social Security, the welfare state and temporary relif: a permanent part of the New Republic.
(4) Deficits and Big Budgets
The new age of deficit spending and huge central budgets has arrived.
(5) Wealth Politics and (6) Federal Power
The final two components of the active state: progressive taxation and central authority.
Laissez Faire & The Roaring Twenties
The conservative interlude that brought a return to private autonomy and new consumer capitalism.
Stock Market Cheats and the Great Depression
The conservative interlude that brought a return to private autonomy, which ended in a barrel over the falls.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal
A major political knockout occured that forever would change both American politics and her institutions.
The Federal Reserve
Central banking and the monetary solution like never before seen.
Teddy Roosevelt
The Square Deal and the new Republican progressivism.
Woodrow Wilson
A different party with the same dose of national medicine: progressivism.
The Rise of Progressives
How the Mckinley election set the conditions for bottled-up national change.
How early American monopolies differed remarkably from the ones formed during the age of robber barons.
Jefferson & the New Hegemony
Jefferson wins in 1800 and his party constitutes the new American boss.
The Rise of Andrew Jackson
How the plantation state morphed into the age of Jackson and what the national opposition tried to be.
Plantation State Domination
The Domination of the Southern progam in national politics and the eventual response from Lincoln and the north.
Political Parties
Organizing early American politics: the Federalists and the Jeffersonians.
The Politics of the Bank
The Assumption Plan and how the federal goverment became the national backbone
The Federalist's Agenda
The new capitalism begins to be seen as a threat to the plantation state.
Jefferson v. Hamilton
The battle between a plantation-centered economic future and the new emergent capitalism.
Debt, Power & Risk
The politics of risk: expected value, bets, war and colonial empires.
Risk and Wager
Understanding expected value and good versus bad bets
The Rise of Capitalism
How trade, commerce, liquidity and banking changed the economic power center.
Feudal Economics
The early economic politics of land as power.