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Thomas M. Keck

Thomas M. Keck

Contact Information:


313 Eggers Hall

Thomas M. Keck

Professor, Political Science Department

Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics

Senior Research Associate, Campbell Public Affairs Institute


The Supreme Court in American Politics (PSC 316)
Constitutional Law I (PSC 324)
Constitutional Law II (PSC 325)
Sexuality and the Law (PSC/QSX 384)
American Constitutional Development (PSC 711)

Highest degree earned

Ph.D., Rutgers University, 1999

Areas of Expertise

U.S. Supreme Court, constitutional courts, freedom of expression, democratic erosion, Court reform

Research Grant Awards and Projects

Professor Keck's research focuses on constitutional courts and the use of legal strategies by contemporary political movements on the left and the right. He is currently leading a long-term, collaborative investigation of free speech jurisprudence in democratic and democratizing countries around the globe, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and Fritt Ord (a Norwegian foundation devoted to free expression).


“Erosion, Backsliding, or Abuse: Three Metaphors for Democratic Decline.” Law & Social Inquiry, vol. 48, forthcoming. 

“Free Speech in an Age of Democratic Backsliding.” International Journal of Constitutional Law, forthcoming. 

“Minority Rights, Governing Regimes, or Secular Elites: Who Benefits from the Protection of Religious and Anti-Religious Speech by the U.S. Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights?” (co-authored with Nathan T. Carrington and Claire Sigsworth). Journal of Law & Courts 11:2 (Fall 2023), forthcoming. 

“Diplomats in Robes: Judicial Career Paths and Free Speech Decision-Making at the European Court of Human Rights” (co-authored with Erik Bleich, Claire Sigsworth, and Neha Sharma). Law & Social Inquiry 46:4 (Nov. 2021): 1141-1172. doi: 10.1017/lsi.2021.9

“Free Expression and Judicial Power in Colombia, India, and South Africa” (co-authored with Sandra Botero, Rachel Ellett, and Stephan Stohler). Law & Social Inquiry 46 (May 2021): 331-363. doi:

"Is President Trump More Like Viktor Orbán or Franklin Pierce?" Constitutional Studies 4 (2019): 131-154.

"The Judicial Protection of Anti-Judicial Speech" (co-authored with Brandon T. Metroka and Richard S. Price). American University International Law Review, vol. 33:4 (2018): 693-769.

"Half a Century of Supreme Court Clean Air Act Interpretation: Purposivism, Textualism, Dynamism, and Activism" (co-authored with David Driesen and Brandon T. Metroka). Washington & Lee Law Review 75:4 (2018): 1781-1857. 

"Assessing Judicial Empowerment" Laws 7:2 (2018): 1-17. 

"Why Roe Still Stands: Abortion Law, the Supreme Court, and the Republican Regime" (co-authored with Kevin J. McMahon). Studies in Law, Politics & Society 70 (2016): 33-83.

"Hate Speech and Double Standards." Constitutional Studies, 1:1 (2016): 95-121.

"Movement Litigation and Unilateral Disarmament: Abortion and the Right to Die" (co-authored with Richard Price). Law and Social Inquiry 40:4 (Fall 2015): 880-907. 

Judicial Politics in Polarized Times (University of Chicago Press, 2014).

"Beyond Backlash: Assessing the Impact of Judicial Decisions on LGBT Rights." Law and Society Review 43:1 (March 2009): 151-185.

"Party, Policy, or Duty: Why Does the Supreme Court Invalidate Federal Statutes?" American Political Science Review 101:2 (May 2007): 321-338.

The Most Activist Supreme Court in History: The Road to Modern Judicial Conservatism (University of Chicago Press, 2004).