The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Paul Collins, Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science says term limits or mandatory retirement ages would reduce the partisan tension of the appointment process. “It would also provide a closer connection between the Supreme Court and the people by regularly rotating folks off of the Supreme Court,” he says. (The National Desk,12/8/21; ABC3 WEAR, 12/9/21)

Professors Jesse Rhodes and Tatishe Nteta participated in a briefing of Massachusetts state legislators, staff, and the media around the VOTES Act, a legislative proposal which would expand voter access by making early voting and vote by mail permanent, establishing same day registration, and increasing voting opportunities for eligible incarcerated persons. Professors Rhodes and Nteta briefed participants on research on the positive effects of same day registration on voter turnout, and shared data from the UMass Poll showing that Massachusetts residents support same day registration. Video from the briefing is available here.

The National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution (NCTDR), directed by Ethan Katsch, Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies, and co-directed by Leah Wing, Senior Lecturer II of Legal Studies in the department of Political Science, has played a key role in the development of the Indian government's policy adoption of online dispute resolution. The Republic of India became the first national government to issue a whole-of-government comprehensive policy on online dispute resolution. (UMass News, 12/07/2021)

The team of political scientists who direct the University of Massachusetts Amherst / WCVB Poll have released a series of findings from a new statewide poll that surveyed respondents about a number of topics, including their views of Gov. Charlie Baker’s job performance, candidate preference in the 2022 gubernatorial race and a number of issues impacting the commonwealth, such as the COVID pandemic and K-12 education. With Baker choosing not to seek re-election to a third term earlier this week, the poll and the expertise of UMass pollsters have earned an especially high profile. The poll’s results on the question of requiring voter identification are also covered following the failure of a Republican-led effort to drive a new law requiring IDs to gather enough signatures to appear on next year’s ballot. (The Lowell Sun, Cape Cod TimesYahoo!NewsNew Bedford Standard-TimesGloucester Daily Times, 12/3/21; various News Office releases)

The Department of Political Science with Program in Legal Studies hosted the 17th annual Dean Alfange Jr. Lecture in American Constitutionalism with Professor Lee Epstein, Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor at Washington University. (UMass Amherst, 11/16/2021)

The American Political Science Review recently published a major engagement with Timothy Pachirat’s "Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight." Authored by Jasmine English and Bernardo Zacka at MIT, the research article revisits Pachirat’s acclaimed 2011 ethnography and exploration of what makes the massive, repetitive violence of industrialized animal slaughter possible. By drawing on Every Twelve Seconds to advance new arguments about the relationships between violence, visibility, and social change, the article demonstrates the enduring power of Pachirat’s work to inspire continued thinking on these important questions. (Cambridge University Press, 11/08/2021)

Paul Musgrave, Assistant Professor in Political Science at UMass Amherst,sorts out the myths and realities of Pepsi's trade with the USSR and the Russian. In 1989, PepsiCo Inc., the maker of Pepsi, acquired 17 submarines, a cruiser, a frigate, and a destroyer from the Soviet Union. In recent years, an internet legend has grown up around this deal, which holds that Pepsi briefly possessed the sixth-largest fleet in the world. (Foreign Policy, 11/28/2021)

Two-thirds of Massachusetts parents support COVID vaccination mandates for public sector workers and public schoolchildren, according to a new statewide University of Massachusetts Amherst / WCVB Poll. The 66% of parents who support the mandate for public sector workers and 64% who support the mandates for children attending public schools significantly outpaces non-parents, of whom 50% support the worker mandate and 43% support the child mandate. (UMass News, 11/22/2021)

The Massachusetts attorney general appears to be the only serious general election threat to a third term for Baker, should he choose to run again in 2022. Gov. Charlie Baker has opened up a six-point lead over Attorney General Maura Healey in a theoretical matchup of the 2022 gubernatorial general election race, according to a new statewide University of Massachusetts Amherst / WCVB Poll. (UMass News, 11/19/2021)

A new statewide University of Massachusetts Amherst / WCVB Poll  finds Gov. Charlie Baker’s approval rebounding from his March 2021 low, buoyed by growing optimism about the Commonwealth’s economy and his handling of the COVID pandemic.
The poll of 750 Massachusetts residents conducted Nov. 9-16 found that 56% of respondents approve of the way Baker is doing his job, which while still down significantly from the 78% approval he held in August 2020 is four points higher than the 52% approval rating he held in a UMass Amherst / WCVB Poll conducted this past March. (UMass News, 11/18/2021)