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Once again, President Trump has picked a fight with the Supreme Court. The president’s latest battle with the court began with a pair of tweets urging Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor to recuse themselves from all cases involving “Trump, or Trump related, matters.” The president followed up in a news conference, claiming that the reasons for having Ginsburg and Sotomayor not participate in cases involving the president are “very obvious.” Read more...

Paul M. Collins Jr., professor of legal studies and political science, has published a new book, The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump. Collins co-wrote the book with Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, professor and department chair of the Department of Political Science, University of North Texas.  

Appearing on the television program “Connecting Point,” Paul M. Collins Jr., discusses the first report released by the Massachusetts Citizens Commission, tasked with drafting a plan to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling. The ruling prohibits the government from restricting spending for political communication by corporations, non-profit organizations, labor unions and other associations. Collins says the report shows that one of the major fears about the aftermath of Citizens United has come to fruition with a large increase in the amount spent on political campaigns.

Meredith Rolfe, says that voting is a social phenomenon and people are more likely to vote if those around them are voting. She is quoted in an article about a new report from the Knight Foundation analyzing why people don’t vote. (Politico, 2/19/20)

UMass Poll recently released its latest polling data on the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign. To get a better sense of how polls work and how UMass Poll conducts its polling, we spoke with UMass Poll director and political science professor Tatishe Nteta. In order to look forward, we had to look back and Nteta told us no, the polls did not fail us in 2016.

When presidents take positions on pending Supreme Court cases or criticize the Court's decisions, they are susceptible to being attacked for acting as bullies and violating the norm of judicial independence. Why then do presidents target Supreme Court decisions in their public appeals? In this book, Paul M. Collins, Jr and Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha argue that presidents discuss the Court's decisions to demonstrate their responsiveness to important matters of public policy and to steer the implementation of the Court's decisions. Using data from Washington to Trump, they show that, far from being bullies, presidents discuss cases to promote their re-election, policy goals, and historical legacies, while attempting to affect the impact of Court decisions on the bureaucracy, Congress, the media, and the public.

Jane E. Fountain, Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, and adjunct distinguished professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences, will be a keynote speaker at the 21st Annual International Conference on Digital Government Research (dg.o 2020). The theme of dg.o 2020 is “Intelligent Government in the Intelligent Information Society.” This conference will focus on the role and capacity building of government and the new governance that would be required to timely address the challenges and opportunities that are brought by the new technologies and also to construct a trust-based society by achieving sustainable development in the intelligent information society. 

Congratulations to Kira Tait, who was selected as one of two finalists for the campus-wide Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition! The final round is on February 28th.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Three Minute Thesis (3MT) celebrates the research accomplishments of our graduate students while helping students develop their presentation and communication skills. These popular competitions have become a global phenomenon and offer graduate students the opportunity to communicate the significance of their research to a general audience, all in three minutes or less.

On February 10, the Harriman Institute for Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies at Columbia University held the Third Annual Edward A. Allworth Memorial Lecture in celebration of his distinguished career in the field of Central Asian studies. This year Regine A. Spector discussed her research on the lives of people and businesses at the bazaar, one of the most important centers of social and economic life in contemporary Central Asia, Regine published her first book "Order at the Bazaar: Power and Trade in Central Asia" in 2017.

Seven faculty members from across six departments and five colleges have been chosen as 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP), including two from the Department of Political Science. The faculty fellows will draw on their substantial research records to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. Faculty fellows receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, and will travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers. This is the sixth cohort of Public Engagement Faculty Fellows.

Raymond J. La Raja, political science and associate dean for program innovation in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, says U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney’s vote against President Donald J. Trump on one of the impeachment counts shows that Romney doesn’t want to be an ordinary senator. “Romney’s plan is to be a pre-eminent senator who has his own power base,” La Raja says. “Trump might not win [in November], so now who’s going to be a pivot player if there’s a Democratic presidential candidate? It’s going to be someone who stood up to Trump.”