Dr Wilson


The American Presidency

Course focuses upon the creation & development of the US presidency; the arrival of the modern institution of the 1900's; the resources, styles, and effectiveness of different presidents; and emergency powers and the rule of law.

American Constitutional Politics

Course focuses on the theory, history and design, as well as the major movements that reshaped insitutional power in American government. Particular emphasis is on the federal organ and the evolution of separation of powers.

Law, Lawyers & The System

Course is centered upon lawyering, judging and common legal transactions in trial courts. Taught from an inside perspective. Topics include evidence, civil procedure, torts, contracts, family law and criminal law/procedure. There is also a version of the class exclusively for criminal justice.

Concepts in Political Theory

Essential concepts in western political theory and in the philosophy of American government. Focus is upon democarcy, majorities, the logic of institutions, equilibrium and the emergence of the intolerant culture.

American Political Development

Focus is upon the role of government in capitalism; economic, fiscal and social welfare policy; and the development of American political ideology concerning the same. These issues are traced across three historical epochs: pre-industrial, the progressive era from 1890s through the New Deal, and contemporary politics from the Great Society through Trump.

Supreme Court Politics

Course focuses on two subjects: how justices should decide (jurisprudence) and how they do decide (behaviorism). The first half of the course is the history of legal justification as told by legal culture and philosophers. The second is an examination of the empirical evidence about judicial decision making, which culminates in a theoretical model that tries to harmonize philosophy with empiricism. Course has a multidisciplinary focus.

Crime, Prosecution & The System

Focus is upon the system from the perspective of a criminal defense lawyer. Students learn not only process and substance, but tactics, strategies and behaviors of system participants.

American Politics

Focus is upon the political and public policy system, and also upon the entrenched political conflict between the parties in contemporary times, broadly situated from the New Deal to current times.