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Abbie Saulsbury


I am a third year Ph.D candidate in American Politics with a minor in Comparative Politics. My research interests lie within judicial politics, with a particular attention toward the U.S. Supreme Court. I remain interested in Supreme Court ideology, voting patterns on the Court, and behavior by justices. Recent work examines the concept of counter-attitudinal voting by justices. Specifically, I question when and why Supreme Court justices choose to vote against their preferences? To that end, I have a co-authored paper with Justin Wedeking that examines how various international crises impact voting by justices. Combining important research within the two fields of judicial politics and international relations, we demonstrate the propensity of justices to change their voting behavior during a crisis. This paper was presented at the Southern Political Science Association Conference as well as the annual Kentucky Political Science Association Conference where it received the Hughes Memoral Award for best paper. 

An additional project, co-authored with Colin Glennon, examines how specific issue areas within the law impact how justices choose to vote. We find that justices vote differently in due process cases than other types of cases appearing before the Court. We probe this empirical result and demonstrate that justices treat due process cases uniquely through other means as well, including their opinion writing. This paper was presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Conference.

Finally, my most recent work examines off-bench behavior by justices. Specifically, I question when and why justices choose to go public? To answer this question, I construct a unique dataset of every instance of a justice going public within the last twenty years. These data can be used to answer important questions regarding judicial behavior and the relationship between justices and the public.  


During my time at the University of Kentucky, I have taught a variety of courses. I have been the primary instructor for the following courses:

  •  PS372 (Introduction to Political Analysis, Spring 2022). 
  • PS360 (Politics of Law and Courts, Summer 2022 & Fall 2022).

In addition, I have been a Teaching Assistant for these courses:

  • PS465 (American Constitutional Law, Spring 2021).
  • PS101 (Introduction to American Government, Fall 2020 & Fall 2021).

In addition, I am enrolled in the Graduate School's Certificate in College Teaching and Learning. Through this program, I continue to work to refine my teaching skills and practices. 

I earned my B.S. from East Tennessee State University, Summa Cum Laude, where I majored in Political Science with a double minor in Legal Studies and Sociology. 

Fall 2022 Office Hours

Tuesdays: 1:00-3:00. Wednesdays: 9:00-10:00.