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Paul M. Collins Jr.

Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science, UMass Amherst

Paul M. Collins, Jr. is Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from Binghamton University and a B.S. in political science from the University of Scranton. His research focuses on understanding the democratic nature of the judiciary, interdisciplinary approaches to legal decision making, and interest group litigation.

The recipient of numerous research awards, he has published articles in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Journal of Law and Courts, Journal of Politics, Law & Social Inquiry, Law & Society Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Political Research Quarterly, and other journals. His research has been funded by grants from the Dirksen Congressional Center and the National Science Foundation. He is currently a member of the editorial boards of the Justice System Journal and Law & Social Inquiry, and formerly sat on the boards of Law & Society Review and Political Research Quarterly. He is also the President of the Consortium for Undergraduate Law and Justice Programs and was the List Master of the Law and Courts Discussion List from 2014-2020. His research and commentary have appeared in a host of popular media outlets, including CNN, the New York Times, National Law Journal, National Public Radio, San Francisco Chronicle, Time, USA Today, Voice of America, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. He has also authored articles in SCOTUSblog, Slate, The Conversation, and the Washington Post.

Collins is also the author of three books. The President and the Supreme Court: Going Public on Judicial Decisions from Washington to Trump, coauthored with Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, was published in 2019 by Cambridge University Press. Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change, coauthored with Lori A. Ringhand, was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press and was recognized by Choice as an 2014 Outstanding Academic Title. Friends of the Supreme Court: Interest Groups and Judicial Decision Making was published in 2008 by Oxford University Press and received the 2009 C. Herman Pritchett Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. This award recognizes Friends of the Supreme Court as the best book on law and courts written by a political scientist.


  • 2016–present
    Professor and Director of Legal Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst


  • 2005 
    Binghamton University, Ph.D. Political Science