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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


  • 2024 Spring
    • PSC 325 Constitutional Law II
    • PSC 300 Selected Topics - Free Speech
  • 2023 Fall
    • PSC 324 Constitutional Law I
  • 2023 Spring
    • PSC 711 American Constitutional Development
    • PSC 325 Constitutional Law II
  • 2022 Fall
    • PSC 324 Constitutional Law I
  • 2022 Spring
    • PSC 325 Constitutional Law II
    • PSC 499 Honors Capstone Project
    • PSC 300 Selected Topics - Comparative Free Speech

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

"Free Expression and Judicial Power", Sponsored by Carnegie Corporation of New York.

"Impact: Supreme Court Power and Influence in American Politics: Doctoral Dissertation Research", Sponsored by Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation.

"Toward a Global Repository of Free Speech Jurisprudence", Sponsored by National Science Foundation.

Selected Publications

  • Books
    • Keck, T. M., Judicial Politics in Polarized Times. University of Chicago, 2014.
    • Keck, T. M., The Most Activist Supreme Court in History: The Road to Modern Judicial Conservatism. University of Chicago Press, 2010.
  • Journal Articles
  • Book Chapters
    • Keck, T. M., "Court-Packing and Democratic Erosion." In Democratic Resilience: Can the United States Withstand Rising Polarization?. Lieberman, R. C. (ed.) Cambridge University Press, 2022.
    • Keck, T. M., "The Relationship between Courts and Legislatures." In Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior. Epstein, L., Lindquist, S. A. (eds.) Oxford University Press, 2017.
    • Keck, T. M., Strother, L., "Judicial Impact." In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics. Oxford University Press, 2016.
    • Keck, T. M., "The Reagan Revolution to the Present." In Oxford Handbook of the United States Constitution. Tushnet, M., Levinson, S. and Gaber, M. (eds.) Oxford University Press, 2015.
    • Keck, T. M., "Bush’s Greatest Legacy? The Federal Courts and the Republican Regime." In Testing the Limits: George W. Bush and the Imperial Presidency. Rozell, M. J., Whitney, G. (eds.) Rowman & Littlefield, 2009.
    • Keck, T. M., "The Neoconservative Assault on the Courts: How Worried Should We Be?." In Confronting the New Conservatism: The Rise of the Right in America. Thompson, M. (ed.) New York University Press, 2007.
    • Keck, T. M., "From Bakke to Grutter: The Rise of Rights-Based Conservatism." In The Supreme Court and American Political Development. Kahn, R., Kersch, K. I. (eds.) University Press of Kansas, 2006.
  • Book Review
    • Keck, T. M., "Review: The Rehnquist Court and Criminal Punishment, by Christopher E. Smith." Law and Politics Book Review, 1998.
  • Encyclopedia Entry
    • Keck, T. M., Judicial self-restraint. Salem Press, Inc., 2000.
  • Journal Reviews
    • Keck, T. M., The Roberts Court, Seven Years In. , 2013.
    • Keck, T. M., "Review of Justin Wert’s Habeas Corpus in America: The Politics of Individual Rights." Law and Politics Book Review, 2012.
    • Keck, T. M., "Law, Politics, and Political Science." Law & Courts, 2008.
    • Keck, T. M., "Comment, Symposium on America’s Constitution: A Biography." Syracuse Law Review, 2008.
    • Keck, T. M., "Review: Dred Scott and the Problem of Constitutional Evil, by Mark A. Graber." Law and Politics Book Review, 2006.
    • Keck, T. M., "Does the Court Follow the Election Returns?." Reviews in American History, 2004.
    • Keck, T. M., "Is the Rehnquist Court an Activist Court?." Insights on Law & Society , 2004.
  • Newspaper Articles
    • Keck, T. M., "Biden is Considering Overhauling the Supreme Court. That’s Happened During Every Crisis in U.S. Democracy." Washington Post , 2021.
    • Keck, T. M., "What’s the Point of Impeachment? To Lay Down a Marker for History." Syracuse Post-Standard, 2021.
    • Keck, T. M., "Scholars to Katko: Trump’s Abuse of Office Clears Bar for Impeachment." Syracuse Post-Standard , 2019.
    • Keck, T. M., "These are the Roadblocks to the Democrats’ Big Voting Rights Bill." Washington Post, 2019.
    • Keck, T. M., "The Supreme Court Justices Control Whether Court-Packing Ever Happens." Washington Post, 2018.
    • Keck, T. M., "GOP Tax Law Will Devastate New Yorkers." Syracuse Post-Standard, 2018.
    • Keck, T. M., "Katko’s Vote Against Repeal Isn’t Enough." Syracuse Post-Standard, 2017.

Presentations and Events

workshop on Courts and Democratic Backsliding, Occidental College, "The U.S. Supreme Court and Democratic Backsliding" (December 16, 2022)

American Political Science Association, American Political Science Association, "Free Speech in an Age of Democratic Backsliding" (September 15, 2022 - September 18, 2022)

Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, "What’s at Stake Post Roe? Implications of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs vs. Jackson Abortion Ruling" (July 7, 2022)

Reproductive Wellbeing Coalition, "What a post-Roe Syracuse Might Look Like" (June 8, 2022)

League of Women Voters, "What's the Deal with Supreme Court Expansion?" (February 2, 2022)

CNY Chapter of New York State Alliance of Retired Americans, "U.S. Democracy in Crisis: What Have We Learned Since January 6?" (January 14, 2022)

Bergen Exchanges on Law and Social Transformation , Bergen Exchanges on Law and Social Transformation, "Backlash Against Academic Freedom" (August 16, 2021 - August 20, 2021)

Ph.D. Course on Effects of Lawfare: Courts and Law as Battlegrounds for Social Change, Centre on Law & Social Tranformation, "Author Meets Readers: Beyond Backlash" (August 11, 2021)

Onondaga Free Library, "The Constitution: America’s User’s Manual" (July 27, 2021)

Keck, T. M., Carrington, N., Sigsworth, C., Stohler, S., Annual Meeting of Law & Society Association (virtual meeting), May 27-30, 2021, and Annual Meeting of International Society of Public Law (virtual meeting), July 6-9, 2021, "Extremist Speech, Militant Democracy, and American Exceptionalism" (July 6, 2021 - July 9, 2021)

Law and Society Association, Law and Society Association, "Challenges and Tensions in Contemporary Public Discourse" (May 27, 2021 - May 30, 2021)

Conversations in Conflict Studies, Program for the Advancement of Research on Conflict and Collaboration, "U.S. Constitutional Democracy in the Post-Trump Era" (April 1, 2021)

Centre on Law & Social Transformation, "Book Launch: Strategic Litigation and the Struggle for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Equality in Africa, by Adrian Jjuuko" (February 8, 2021)

Centre on Law & Social Transformation, "Academic Freedom and Democratic Backsliding in Comparative Perspective" (January 28, 2021)

Jack Miller Center, Western Political Science Association, "Is Court-Packing Legitimate? A Webinar with the Constitutionalist" (December 7, 2020)

Community Library of DeWitt & Jamesville, "The November Elections and American Democracy: Where Do We Go from Here?" (November 11, 2020)

Keck, T. M., Carrington, N., Sigsworth, C., Annual Meeting of Law & Society Association, "Minority Rights, Governing Regimes, or Secular Elites: Who Benefits from the Protection of Religious Speech by the U.S. Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights?" (May 28, 2020 - May 31, 2020)

Law and Society Association, Law and Society Association, "Resistance, Protest, and Law" (May 28, 2020 - May 31, 2020)

by invitation at conference on Democratic Resilience? Evaluating Whether the United States Can Withstand Rising Polarization, Cornell University, "Court-Packing and Democratic Erosion" (February 14, 2020)

Indivisible Salt City, "Making Sense of Impeachment" (January 9, 2020)

Indivisible Cayuga, "Making Sense of Impeachment" (November 18, 2019)

Indivisible NY24, "Impeachment Teach-in and Town Hall" (October 14, 2019)

"Making Sense of the Mueller Report" (September 23, 2019)

Keck, T. M., Stohler, S., Botero, S., Ellett, R., Annual Meeting of Law and Society Association, "Free Speech in the Global South" (August 29, 2019 - September 1, 2019)

American Political Science Association, "Rights and Regimes: Opportunities for Abuse and Transformation" (August 29, 2019 - September 1, 2019)

Law and Society Association, Law and Society Association, "Sexual Rights Lawfare in Africa: Politicisation Dynamics and Health Effects" (May 30, 2019 - June 2, 2019)

Law and Society Association, Law and Society Association, "Toward a Global Free Speech Repository" (May 30, 2019 - June 2, 2019)

Honors and Accolades

Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award, Syracuse University (2016)

Houghton Mifflin Award, Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association (2008)

Foundation Award for Outstanding Faculty Member, LGBT Community at Syracuse University (2007 - 2008)