Michael A. Zilis

mazi223's picture
  • Assistant Professor
  • Publicity Director
  • Political Science
1651 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 257-7030
Research Interests:

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2013


My research explores public and political resistance to judicial authority in the United States.  This methodologically pluralist work makes linkages across subfield boundaries, speaking to scholars that study legitimacy, race and politics, inter-institutional conflict, and media and politics.

I joined the University of Kentucky faculty in 2015.  I hold a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan, where I studied American political institutions, political behavior, and methodology.  My dissertation, concerning dissent on the Supreme Court, was nominated for the American Political Science Association's Corwin Award for the best dissertation in the field of public law.

My book, The Limits of Legitimacy (2015), explores public support for high profile Supreme Court rulings.  Drawing on a detailed case study, content analysis of 30 years of media coverage, and a series of survey experiments, I demonstrate how division amongst the justices limits support for rulings.   The book was selected as an "Exemplary Law Book of 2015" by the Green Bag Almanac and Reader.  My other work has been published at Political Research QuarterlyLegislative Studies QuarterlySocial Science Quarterly, the Journal of Law and Courts, and multiple law reviews. Some of my other ongoing work includes collobrative research with Justin Wedeking that has been funded by the National Science Foundation.

At Kentucky, I primarily teach courses on American government, judicial decision-making, and Constitutional law.  I emphasize heavily student engagement and utilize both single period and multiple-week simulations in my courses.  In 2019, I won the Outstanding Teaching Award from the College of Arts & Sciences and was a finalist for the Provost's Award for Outstanding Teaching at the University.

For more information about my research and background, please visit my website: http://www.michaelzilis.com

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