Research

Below is an overview of my research projects, including published articles in both law reviews and peer-reviewed journals, as well as works currently in development.

Publications

"The Walking Dead: How the Criminal Regulation of Sodomy Survived Lawrence v. Texas," Missouri Law Review (forthcoming), available on SSRN.

"The Personal Finances of United States Supreme Court Justices and Decision-Making in Economic Litigation" (with Thora Giallouri and Elli Menounou), Journal of Legal Studies (forthcoming).

"Institutional Foundations of the American Revolution: Legislative Politics in Colonial North America" (with Nicholas G. Napolio), Journal of Historical Political Economy (forthcoming), available as a pre-print here.

"Mobilization and Counter-Mobilization: The Effect of Candidate Visits on Campaign Donations in the 2016 Presidential Election" (with Boris Heersink and Brenton Peterson), Journal of Politics (forthcoming).

"No Vacancy or Open for Business? Making Accommodations for Digital Platform Short-Term Rentals in Major American Municipalities" (with Braedon Sims), University of Hawai'i Law Review 43(1): 123-165 (2020), available on SSRN.

"The Private Interests of Public Officials: Financial Regulation in the U.S. Congress" (with Christian R. Grose), Legislative Studies Quarterly (2020).

"Economic Interests Cause Elected Officials to Liberalize Their Racial Attitudes" (with Christian R. Grose), Political Research Quarterly (2020).

- Recognized as the Best Article Published in PRQ during 2020.

"The Mask of Neutrality: Judicial Partisan Calculation and Legislative Redistricting," Law & Policy 41(3): 336-359 (2019).

"Packing the Courts: Ideological Proximity and Expansions to the Federal Judiciary from 1937 to 2012" (with Elli Menounou, Adam Feldman, and Thora Giallouri), Journal of Law & Courts 7(1): 81-106 (2019).

"Their Boot in Our Face No Longer? Administrative Sectionalism and Resistance to Federal Authority in the U.S. South" (with Nicholas G. Napolio), State Politics & Policy Quarterly 19(1): 101-122 (2019).

"All Their Eggs in One Basket? Ideological Congruence in Congress and the Bicameral Origins of Concentrated Delegation to the Bureaucracy", Laws 7(2): 1-15 (2018).

"Letting Down the Ladder or Shutting the Door: Female Prime Ministers, Party Leaders, and Cabinet Members" (with Diana Z. O'Brien, Matthew Mendez, and Jihyun Shin), Politics & Gender 11(4): 689-717 (2015).

Public scholarship

"Trump is going back to holding rallies. He might be helping Biden" (with Boris Heersink). The Washington Post - Monkey Cage, available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/18/trump-is-going-back-holding-rallies-he-might-be-helping-biden/.

"Of Pretexts and Preferences: The Revealed Conservatism of Clarence Thomas." A House Divided, available at https://ahousedividedapd.com/2020/01/23/of-pretexts-and-preferences-the-revealed-conservatism-of-clarence-thomas/.

"In the South, it’s not just state politicians who work against federal policies. It’s the bureaucrats too" (with Nicholas G. Napolio). London School of Economics US Centre American Politics & Policy Blog, available at https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2019/02/08/in-the-south-its-not-just-state-politicians-who-work-against-federal-policies-its-the-bureaucrats-too/

 

"Concentrating implementation: How ideological agreement between the House and Senate affects delegation to the bureaucracy." LegBranch.com Blog, available at http://www.legbranch.com/theblog/2018/6/5/concentrating-implementation-how-ideological-agreement-between-the-house-and-senate-affects-delegation-to-the-bureaucracy

"Partisanship Drives State Agencies' Response to Federal Regulation" (with Nicholas G. Napolio). The Regulatory Review, available at https://www.theregreview.org/2018/05/07/napolio-peterson-partisanship-state-agencies-resistance-federal-regulation/

"What persuades elected officials to remove Confederate symbols? Framing it as good for business" (with Christian R. Grose). The Washington Post - Monkey Cage, available at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/08/21/what-persuades-elected-officials-to-remove-confederate-symbols-framing-it-as-good-for-business/​

Working papers

"Implementing Equality: The Sources of State (Non)Compliance with Judicial Revisions to Public Policy on Gay Rights"

Abstract: Since the civil rights movement accomplished many of its paramount successes via litigation, progressive advocacy communities have tended to regard courts as essential bulwarks against the legal enshrinement of oppression targeting politically vulnerable minorities. Advocates of LGBTQ equality are no different, identifying the judiciary as critical to eradicating discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, witnessed notably in the movement's having championed a series of Supreme Court decisions expanding gay rights from the mid-1990s to the present. Standing alone, however, holdings by the Supreme Court revising the operative scope of civil rights for sexual minorities represent only a change in the formulation of public policy rather than effecting immediate changes in policy implementation. Judicially directed reformulations of public policy thus require cooperation by those responsible for policy implementation, and compliance rates with judicial directives may vary, especially on matters of public policy over which states retain considerable sovereignty. In this article, I analyze state responses to two prominent Supreme Court decisions on public policies that implicate the constitutional rights of sexual minorities: Lawrence v. Texas, decriminalizing private, consensual, nonprocreative intercourse, and Obergefell v. Hodges, holding state same-sex marriage bans unconstitutional. While adherence to Obergefell was swift and nearly universal, compliance outcomes for Lawrence have been uneven, as some states continue to enforce statutes that are materially equivalent to the "homosexual conduct" law at issue in Lawrence. I argue that compliance with Lawrence has lagged compared to Obergefell for three reasons: (1) linguistic imprecision in the Lawrence decision; (2) divergent views of the right(s) at issue in each case, including variation in the constituencies affected by each instance of litigation; and (3) the absence of a federal executive regime credibly committed to the case's outcome.

"Adjudicating Industrial Disputes in the Shadow of Economic Conflict of Interest Regulations"

Abstract: Do laws and regulations governing economic conflicts of interest shape adjudicatory decision-making by political appointees in the American federal executive branch? And, more specifically, does the distribution of federal bureaucrats’ personal finances explain their preferences in the adjudication of labor relations disputes? I theorize that political appointees engage in calculated behavior based on their private asset allocations when making choices regarding national policies on industrial relations. In this article, I examine the role played by National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Members’ private financial interests in their approach to the adjudication of over 1200 disputes between labor and management representatives. I expect that Members’ personal ownership interests in firms from particular economic sectors will result in  Members supporting increased administrative scrutiny into organizational practices at competitor firms from sectors in which they own equities in order to reinforce the financial wellbeing of those firms in which the Member has a personal financial stake. Empirically, I use multiple methods to test my expectations: I employ observational analyses, as well as leverage an institutional feature of the NLRB that functions as a natural field experiment of political elites: the random assignment of labor disputes to three-Member panels that reach the NLRB. I find that Board Members engage in competitor sanctioning when adjudicating industrial disputes. This study supplements our understanding of economic conflicts of interest by suggesting that substantive representation of organized labor interests in the federal bureaucracy is in part the function of political appointees’ financially self-interested behavior that substantially evades government ethics regulations.

"The Life of Laws: Political Uncertainty, Rulemaking, and Regulatory Regimes" (with Pamela Clouser McCann and Nicholas G. Napolio).

Abstract: Under what conditions does a law create fast- versus slow-moving regulatory regimes? And when does a law create long-lasting versus short-lived regulatory opportunities for agencies? In this paper, we develop and test a formal theory of how bureaucratic discretion, political context, policy uncertainty and the costliness of rule production alter incentives for bureaucratic rulemaking pursuant to those laws. We argue that political and production risks impact agency uncertainty and the timing of rule promulgation. Once a law is enacted, uncertainty varies as governing coalitions enter and exit political institutions. Because the ideological composition of these coalitions change over time, so does the ideological alignment with agencies responsible for implementation and rulemaking, calibrating bureaucratic expectations regarding the degree of legislative oversight and potential rule production costs. Additionally, variation in political uncertainty over time influences bureaucratic strategies, increasing or decreasing the volume and speed of rulemaking. As such, we examine rulemaking pursuant to significant federal enactments since the Administrative Procedure Act.