The following academic articles & essays, starting from the most recently published, trace the details of my research trajectory.

Journal Articles & Essays

Striving to Rollback or Protect Roe: State Legislation and the Trump-Era Politics of Abortion. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 50. 370-397, Summer 2020

  • This article provides an overview of the interrelated changes in party politics, perceptions of political opportunities, and the content of state abortion regulations. It concludes that the frequency of state abortion laws has increased modestly during the Trump presidency, but substantive shifts in recent policies create the potential to fundamentally reorganize state and national abortion politics.

Higher Law: Can Christian Conservatives Transform Law Through Legal Education?. Law & Society Review, 54, 835-870, December 2018 (Co-Authored with Amanda Hollis-Brusky)

  • Featuring some of the research related to Separate But Faithful, in this article we examine three leading Christian conservative law schools and one training program dedicated to transforming the law. We ask how each institution seeks to realize its transformative mission and analyze how they organize themselves to produce the kinds of capital (human, intellectual, social, cultural) needed to effectively change the law. To do so, we develop a typology of legal institution-building strategies (infiltration, supplemental, and parallel alternative) to compare the relative advantages and disadvantages of institutional forms. We conclude by discussing implications of our findings for those looking to law schools as sites of broader transformation within the law.

The Depth of [White] Christian Conservative Legal Activism & Learning. Featured Essay and Review of Lewis, A. “The Rights Turn in Conservative Christian Politics: How Abortion Transformed the Culture Wars” & Bennett, D. “Defending Faith: The Politics of the Christian Conservative Legal Movement” in Politics & Religion, Preview published online: January 2018, pp. 1-9.

Playing for the Rules: How and Why New Christian Right Public Interest Law Firms Invest in Secular Litigation. Law & Policy, 39, 121-141, April 2017 (Co-Authored with Amanda Hollis-Brusky)

  • This article catalogues and analyzes the litigating behavior of four of the leading New Christian Right Public Interest Law Firms (NCR PILFs). Consistent with the finding from judicial politics that all PILFs seek first and foremost to have policy influence, we find that most of the litigation these PILFs invest in is either explicitly or implicitly religious or mission driven. However, we also observe a trend of increased participation in secular cases by the two largest NCR PILFs in our study. Through in-depth, qualitative content analysis of the briefs submitted in these secular cases, we show that while some of this behavior can be attributed to organizational maintenance or coalitional goals, most of this secular participation appears motivated by a desire to influence the legal rules rather than the outcome of the particular case. In doing so, this article shows how PILFs engage with an increasingly complex legal and political landscape.

Lawyers for God & Neighbor: The Emergence of “Law as a Calling” as a Mobilizing Frame for Christian Lawyers. Law & Social Inquiry, 39, 416-448, Spring 2014  (Co-Authored with Amanda Hollis-Brusky)

  • Drawing on movement framing, collective identity, and mobilization scholarship, this article examines the emergence and potential effects of framing “law as a calling” for the Christian Lawyering community. The article finds that the term should have strong resonance and salience in the broader Christian community. It also finds that because of its interpretive malleability, “law as a calling” has been discussed and actualized in three related, but distinct, ways. That is, “law as a calling” has been conceptualized as requiring Christian Lawyers to turn inward, turn outward by pursuing social justice, and turn outward as a culture warrior. The article argues that while the different interpretations of “law as a calling” address a range of needs required to mobilize potential and existing Christian L/lawyers, the different ideological factions of self-identifying Christian Lawyers emphasize different understandings of “law as a calling.”

“Tort Tales” & TV Judges: Amplifying, Modifying, or Countering the Anti-Tort Narrative. Law & Society Review, 46, 105-135, March 2012 (Co-Authored with Erin Ackerman)

  • This article joins the debate about the popular pervasiveness of antitort and antilitigation attitudes by examining whether, and to what extent, antitort or antilitigation sentiment is present in the narratives about law offered by reality-based television judge shows. Given the persistent debate about tort reform and scholars’ recognition of the role played in this debate by simplified narratives about the legal system, we analyze whether reality-based TV judge shows as a genre contribute to the creation and dissemination antitort and antilitigation sentiment. Earlier studies led us to hypothesize that TV judge shows would largely support the antitort and antilitigation narratives. After coding over 55 hours of such shows, however, we conclude that they do not adopt this narrative. Rather, these shows present a view of the civil law system that largely treats plaintiffs’ claims as legitimate and showcases the majority of defendants as wrongdoers. In spite of this, we argue that the particular dramatic qualities of TV judge shows limit their potential to serve as a strong counternarrative to antitort and antilitigation stories.

Sustaining the State: Exploring the Construction of Legality in Pro and Anti-Abortion Activists’ Post-Litigation Narratives. Law & Social Inquiry, 36, 455-483, Spring 2011

  • This article investigates how activists involved in both sides of the street politics of abortion simultaneously create, are constrained by, and use law when recounting a period of conflict that resulted in litigation. The activists-turned-litigants’ construction of legality is explored by identifying and analyzing patterns of inclusion, absence, amendment, and type of law (i.e., state or extrastate) in and across the stories they tell. It is found that even though there are multiple reasons to expect all of these activists to resist or amend the state’s conception of law, their narratives ultimately reproduce state law’s legitimacy and power. The activists’ stories also illustrate that legal consciousness is contextually and experientially based and is therefore subject to change. This finding has implications for legal mobilization as well as for the nature of legal consciousness.

It Takes All Kinds: Observations from an Event-Centered Approach to Cause Lawyering.  Studies in Law, Politics, & Society, 50, 169-206, 2009

  • Taking both an event-centered and a process approach to cause lawyering, the chapter asks: (1) if, when, and how working with movements can lead to one being functionally seen as a cause lawyer and (2) whether researchers should include “hired gun” and state attorneys in the cause lawyering conversation. These questions are addressed by seeing how various cause lawyer qualities are exhibited by a range of attorneys involved in anti-abortion protest regulation cases. The research suggests that reasons exist to view previously excluded attorneys through the cause lawyering lens, and to continue pursuing the cause lawyer qualities discussed here.

When Rights Collide: Anti-Abortion Protests and the Ideological Dilemma in Planned Parenthood Shasta-Diablo, Inc. v. Williams. Studies in Law, Politics, & Society, 35, 145-190, 2005

  • This article focuses on one court case concerning the regulation of Anti-Abortion protesting and asks: (1) Do the various actors involved in this case recognize a tension between their actions and their broader beliefs concerning the regulation of political protests? (2) If this tension is recognized, how do the actors resolve it, and if it is not recognized, why is it not? While concerned with legal consciousness and cognitive dissonance, the article is framed by broader questions concerning tolerance and the interaction of law and political passions.