Michael A. Zilis

  • Assistant Professor
  • Political Science
1651 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 257-7030
Research Interests:
Education

Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2013

Biography

My research focuses on politicized resistance to U.S. Supreme Court from both behavioral and institutional perspectives.  Specifically, I study institutional legitimacy, popular support for rulings, the Court's strategic management of support, legislative-judicial interactions, and media coverage of the judiciary.

I joined the University of Kentucky faculty in 2015 after two years at DePaul University.  I completed a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan.  My dissertation, "I Respectfully Dissent: Linking Judicial Behavior, Public Responses, and Media Coverage in the Study of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions," was nominated for the American Political Science Association's Corwin Award for the best dissertation in the field of public law.  At Michigan, I studied American political institutions, political behavior, and methodology.  

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 or is forthcoming at Political Research QuarterlyLegislative Studies QuarterlyJournal of Law and Courts, Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, and Elon Law Review.

I have teaching experience in public law, political behavior, and American political institutions.  At Kentucky, I teach courses on constitutional law, judicial politics, and the politics of law and courts.  Additionally, I serve as a faculty mentor in our research internship program (PS 399) and oversee the department's research colloquium.

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

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