Spriggs, James F., II 1966- (James Spriggs)
Spriggs, James F., II 1966- (James Spriggs)
Born November 13, 1966. Education: Westminster College, B.A., 1989; Washington University, M.A., 1991, Ph.D., 1994.
Office—Department of Political Science, Washington University, Campus Box 1063, 1 Brookings Dr., St. Louis, MO 63130. E-mail—[email protected]
University of California, Davis, assistant professor, 1994-2000, associate professor, 2000-06, professor of political science, 2006; Washington University, St. Louis, MO, professor of political science and (by courtesy) law, fellow in the Center for Empirical Research in Law, 2006—.
American Political Science Association.
Antoinette Dames Prize, Washington University, 1990, for best graduate paper; Edward S. Corwin Award, Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association, for best doctoral dissertation in the field of public law, 1995; C. Herman Pritchett Award, Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association, 2001, for best book published on law and courts; American Judicature Society Award, Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association, 2002, for best paper presented the previous year at an annual meeting; recipient of numerous grants and fellowships, including two grants from the National Science Foundation.
(With Thomas G. Hansford) The Politics of Precedent on the U.S. Supreme Court, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2006.
Contributor to periodicals, including American Political Science Review, Journal of Politics, Law and Society Review, Perspectives on Politics, Washington University in St. Louis Law Review, American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, American Politics Quarterly, and Political Analysis. Member of editorial board, American Journal of Political Science, 2005—.
James F. Spriggs II is a professor of political science and law whose research interests include studying how decisions are made at the appellate court level and how these judgments impact the law. On the other side of this coin, Spriggs examines how judges may be influenced by both formal rules and informal standards existing within institutions. For instance, in Crafting Law on the Supreme Court: The Collegial Game, which he wrote with Forrest Maltzman and Paul Wahlbeck, Spriggs "examines how internal rules on the Court lead justices to act strategically and bargain, negotiate, and compromise," according to a faculty profile on the Washington University in Saint Louis Web site.
Much of his research has been related to "modeling law and legal development," which is the subject of The Politics of Precedent on the U.S. Supreme Court. Written with Thomas G. Hansford, this title addresses the debate of whether law or political ideology has proven more influential toward decisions made by the Supreme Court. The authors conclude in their book that both politics and the law are important in justices' decisions. "Their theory is based on two key factors," according to Mark S. Hurwitz in the Political Science Quarterly: "that justices interpret precedent, first, to influence current legal policy and, second, to justify new policies in current opinions." This argument is then supported by statistical models, according to Hurwitz. A main source of this data, Hurwitz reported, is Shepard's Citations, "a legal citation service detailing how subsequent courts treat prior precedents." Hansford and Spriggs are innovative here in that Shepard's has previously not been used to explain how courts have historically addressed precedent. "The authors have demonstrated in convincing detail how Shepard's is a reliable and valid measure for this purpose," concluded Hurwitz, who added that they "have done a commendable job in showing how both law and politics matter when the Supreme Court interprets precedent."
Spriggs is also working with colleagues Wahlbeck, Timothy R. Johnson, and James Fowler on a broad analysis of the evolution of the U.S. legal system from 1792 through modern times. In addition, he is researching the influence of judges on public opinion, as well as the role of oral arguments in influencing appellate courts, studying the European Court of Justice and the length of influence of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and examining how precedent became the accepted norm in courts. A contributor to numerous professional journals, Spriggs has received a number of grants, including one that he is using for "a project that will examine the development of the norm of stare decisis in the United States," according to the Washington University in Saint Louis Web site.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Law and Politics Book Review, August, 2006, Stefanie A. Lindquist, review of The Politics of Precedent on the U.S. Supreme Court, p. 603.
Political Science Quarterly, winter, 2006, Mark S. Hurwitz, review of The Politics of Precedent on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Washington University in Saint Louis Web site,http://polisci.wustl.edu/ (February 4, 2008), faculty profile of James Spriggs.