My research looks at American
political institutions, law, constitutional development, labor,
and the impact of law and legal ideology on struggles for
I have a new book
of Chicago Press titled This
is Not Civil Rights: Discovering Rights Talk in 1939 America
book examines several hundred written exchanges between citizens
and government lawyers during the final years of the Great
Depression. The focus is on people who wrote letters to
the federal government complaining of rights violations.
The people who wrote defied government indifference to rights
violations by articulating novel demands for rights. The
exchanges provide a powerful reminder that constitutional rights
protections are not some permanent gift of our "founding
fathers" or the Supreme Court. Rights protections exist,
and can be maintained, only through the courageous struggles of
ordinary people who maintain commitments to constitutional
ideals of equality and opportunity.
I am now working on a new book project (with my colleague
Michael McCann) the looks at the struggles against economic and
political injustice by Filipino and Filipino American workers in
the Pacific Northwest from the 1930s to the present.
I work occasionally with Professor Scott Lemieux of College of
Saint Rose (and Lawyers, Guns and Money) on a series of articles
on the political construction of judicial power. Our
articles have appeared in Studies
The articles look generally at judicial power and its political
roots and in particular at the role of the courts in abortion
My first book, Legislative
, (Cambridge University Press 2003) looks
at how federal law shaped the development of the American labor
movement in the early 20th century and shows how legislators use
ambiguity to give judges the opportunity to make policy choices.
The book challenges conventional understandings of both American
labor history and the relationship between judicial power and
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I have also published articles on 19th century state labor
legislation, the Supreme Court's progressive era decisions on
federal labor legislation, and legislative delegation to the
executive branch. My C.V. provides additional information
about my publications.
I have a PhD. in political science from the University of
Michigan, an MA in philosophy from the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a BA from Tufts University.