Sara Benesh

Associate Professor
 Bolton Hall 678



Ph.D., Political Science, Michigan State University, 1999
M.A., Political Science, Michigan State University, 1997
B.A., Political Science and English, Saint Norbert College, 1995

Courses Taught

  • PolSci 104 – Intro. to American Government and Politics
  • PolSci 412 – Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • PolSci 417 – The Supreme Court
  • PolSci 471 – Problems in Law Studies
  • Polsci 963 – Seminar in Judicial Politics and Behavior

Research Interests

Judicial decision making (U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. Supreme Court, state courts of last resort, lower federal and state courts) and the legitimacy of courts and institutions.

Current Projects

Wallander, Zachary and Sara C. Benesh. “The Influence of Law Clerks: Evidence from the Blackmun Papers.”

Selected Publications

Benesh, Sara C., Jacobson, Jennifer K., Schaeffer, Amanda, and Simmons, Nicole. “Supreme Court Monitoring Via GVRs.” Justice System Journal 35.2 (2014): 162-177.
Benesh, Sara C. “Judicial Elections: Directions in the Study of Institutional Legitimacy.” Judicature 96.5 (2013): 204-208.
Luse, Jennifer K., McGovern, Geoffrey, Martinek, Wendy L., and Benesh, Sara C. “’Such Inferior Courts . .’: Compliance by Circuits with Jurisprudential Regimes.” American Politics Research 37. (2009): 75-106.
Kaheny, Erin, Haire, Susan, and Benesh, Sara C. “Change Over Tenure: Voting, Variance, and Decision Making on The U.S. Courts of Appeals.” American Journal of Political Science 52.3 (2008): 490-503.
Benesh, Sara C., and Spaeth, Harold J. “The Constraint of Law: A Study of Supreme Court Dissensus.” American Politics Research 35. (2007): 755-768.
Benesh, Sara C. “Understanding Public Confidence in American Courts.” Journal of Politics 68.3 (2006): 697-707.
Benesh, Sara C., and Reddick, Malia. “Overruled: An Event History Analysis of Lower Court Reaction to Supreme Court Alterations of Precedent.” Journal of Politics 64.2 (2002): 534-550.