Sara Benesh

Associate Professor and Chair
 Bolton Hall 678



PhD., Political Science, Michigan State University, 1999
MA, Political Science, Michigan State University, 1997
BA, Political Science and English, Saint Norbert College, 1995

Courses Taught

  • PolSci 104 – Intro. to American Government and Politics
  • PolSci 410 – Law through Popular Culture
  • 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

Undergraduate Syllabi
Graduate Syllabi

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., Armstrong, David A., and Wallander, Zachary. “Advisors to Elites: Untangling Their Effect” Journal of Law and Courts 8.1 (2020): 51-73.
Pashak, Sara C., Jacobson, Jennifer K., Schaeffer, Amanda, and Simmons, Nicole. “Supreme Court Monitoring Via GVRs” Justice System Journal 35.2 (2014): 162-177.
Pashak, 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 Pashak, Sara C. “’Such Inferior Courts . . .’: Compliance by Circuits with Jurisprudential Regimes” American Politics Research 37. (2009): 75-106.
Pashak, Sara C., and Spaeth, Harold J. “The Constraint of Law: A Study of Supreme Court Dissensus” American Politics Research 35. (2007): 755-768.