The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Paul M. Collins, Jr.

Paul M. Collins, Jr.

Professional Title: 

Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science

Service Role: 

  • Graduate Program Director


Thompson 228

Phone Number: 

(413) 545-4079


Office Hours: 

Tue & Thu 12-1:30pm and by appointment


Ph.D. & M.A. (political science) Binghamton University and B.S. (political science) University of Scranton


My research interests include understanding the democratic nature of the judiciary, interdisciplinary approaches to legal decision making, and social movement litigation.

I have published articles in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Journal of Law and Courts, Journal of Politics, Law & Social Inquiry, Law & Society Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Political Research Quarterly, and other journals. My research has been funded by grants from the Dirksen Congressional Center and the National Science Foundation. I am also the author of three books. Friends of the Supreme Court: Interest Groups and Judicial Decision Making was published in 2008 by Oxford University Press and received the 2009 C. Herman Pritchett Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. This award recognizes Friends of the Supreme Court as the best book on law and courts written by a political scientist. Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change, coauthored with Lori A. Ringhand, was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press and was recognized by Choice as an 2014 Outstanding Academic Title. My third book, The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump, coauthored with Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, was published in 2019 by Cambridge University Press.

I am currently a member of the editorial boards of the Justice System Journal and Law & Social Inquiry, and formerly sat on the boards of Law & Society Review and Political Research Quarterly. I am also the President of the Consortium for Undergraduate Law and Justice Programs and was the List Master of the Law and Courts Discussion List from 2014-2020. My research and commentary have appeared in a host of popular media outlets, including CNN, the New York Times, National Law Journal, National Public Radio, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, USA Today, Voice of America, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. I have also contributed to SCOTUSblog, Slate, The Conversation, and the Washington Post.

I am excited to work with graduate students who have an interest in the democratic nature of the judiciary; interbranch interactions; judicial behavior and selection; gender, race, and judges; media coverage of court decisions and rights claiming; social movement litigation; and other topics.

In the past, I have hired graduate student research assistants to work on projects involving the influence of amicus curiae briefs on judicial decision making; presidential statements on Supreme Court decisions; Supreme Court confirmation hearings; LGBT+ newspaper coverage of court decisions and rights claiming; and other topics. I have co-authored numerous articles with graduate students, including publications in American Politics Research, Journal of Politics, and Political Research Quarterly.

Area of Study: 

  • American politics
  • Public law

Curriculum Vitae: 

Download pdf (213.04 KB)


  • Legal Studies