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Washington State University
School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs Meet our Faculty!

Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs PortraitsCornell W. Clayton

Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government
Director, Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy and Public Service

Office: Johnson Tower 818 or Bryan Hall 316
Phone: (509) 335-2427 or (509) 335-4262
Curriculum vitae

D.Phil. Politics, Oxford University, Lady Margaret Hall, 1990 (M.Litt. 1987).
B.A. Political Science, University of Utah, 1985 (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa).
Research Interests:
Constitutional law and judicial politics, democratic political institutions, political polarization, civility and civil discourse, Washington state politics, normative political theory and questions of justice.

Biographical Information:
Cornell Clayton is the Director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University, where he also serves as the Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government.

Clayton has written widely about American government, politics and law. His work on judicial politics has twice received the American Judicature Award from the American Political Science Association, and his research has been translated and republished in five languages. He is a frequent political commentator on local and national news media, and his research has been featured in the New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, and National Public Radio, among other places.

Clayton served for eight years as coeditor of Political Research Quarterly, the journal of the Western Political Science Association, and served as the Chair of the Law and Court Section of the American Political Association. Other distinctions include two Fulbright Scholarships, the Truman Scholarship, the C.O. Johnson Distinguished Professorship, and the Wayne N. Aspinall Chair. He has been a visiting fellow and lecturer at many institutes and universities around the world.

Clayton received his Doctorate of Philosophy in Politics from Oxford University. He came to WSU in 1992.


Civility and American Democracy, edited with R. Elgar (WSU Press, 2012).

Governing Washington: Politics in the Evergreen State, edited with N. Lovrich (WSU Press, 2011).

Washington State Government and Politics, edited with L. Leloup and N. Lovrich (WSU Press, 2004).

Supreme Court Decision-Making, edited with H. Gillman (University of Chicago Press, 1999).

The Supreme Court in American Politics, edited with H. Gillman (University Press of Kansas, 1999).

Government Lawyers: The Legal Bureaucracy and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kansas, 1995).

The Politics of Justice (M.E. Sharpe, 1992).

Select Research Articles and Essays

“Still Crazy after All These Years: The Polarized Politics of the Robert’s Court Continue” (with M. Salamone), The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 12: 739-762 (2014).

“The Supreme Court in the Obama Era” (with L. McMillan), in G. Peel et al., Developments in American Politics, 7th ed., McMillan, 2014)

“The Supreme Court in the American Political System: The Politics of Law,” in R. La Raya, New Directions in American Politics (Routledge, 2013).

“The Robert’s Court in an Era of Polarized Politics” (with L. McMillan), The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 10: 132-146 (2013).

“Taking Judicial Motivations Seriously: Strategic Choice Research and the Problems/Promise of
Formal Theory in Law and Courts Scholarship, Law and Courts 18: 16-21 (2008).

“Collegial Norms and Opinion-Writing on the U.S. Supreme Court,” in F. Hourquebie, Principe de Collegialite Et Cultures Judiaires (Bruylant, 2010).

“Whither the Robert’s Court?” (with E. Christensen), The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics 6(4): 10 (2009).

“Judicial Review and the ‘Tides’ of Political History: Models for Understanding the Role of Constitutional Courts,” in T. Tanase, The Search for Democratic Foundations of Judicial Power (Nihon-Hyoronsha, 2008.

“Francis Biddle and the Defense of the Law during War, in N. Gross, Nobel Purposes: Defenders of the Rule of Law (Ohio University Press, 2007).

“The Politics of Criminal Justice: How the New Right Regime Shaped the Rehnquist Court’s
Criminal Justice Jurisprudence” (with M. Pickerill), The Georgetown Law Journal 95: 1385-1425 (2006).

“Courts, Democracy, and Constitutional Change in the United States,” in Ozan Urgul, Democracy and the Judiciary (Union of Turkish Bar Associations, 2006).

“The Rehnquist Court and the Political Dynamics of Federalism” (with M. Pickerill), Perspectives on Politics 2: 233-48 (2004).

“The Supreme Court’s Federalism Decisions: Guess What Happened on the Way to the Revolution? (with M. Pickerill), Publius 34: 85-114 (2004).

“Lawyer-Presidents and their Attorneys General,” in N. Gross, America’s Lawyer Presidents (Northwestern University Press, 2004).

“The Washington Constitution and the Search of an Independent Jurisprudence” (with S. Meyer), in Washington State Government and Politics (WSU Press, 2004).

“Edward S. Corwin: Public Scholar,” in N. Maveety, Pioneers of Judicial Behavior (University of Michigan Press, 2003).

“Supply and Demand Sides of Judicial Policy-Making,” Journal of Law and Contemporary Problems 65: 69-85 (2002).

“Toward a Theory of the Washington State Constitution,” Gonzaga University Law Review 37: 41-88 (2002).

“State Litigation Strategies and Policymaking in the U.S. Supreme Court” (with J. McGuire), Journal of Law & Public Policy 11: 17-34 (2001).

“The Supreme Court and Political Jurisprudence,” Comparative Law Review 33: 205-233 (2000).

“Law, Politics and the Rehnquist Court: The Politics of Pragmatism,” in The Supreme Court in American Politics (University Press of Kansas, 1999).

“The New Institutionalism and Supreme Court Decision Making: Toward a Political Regimes Approach” (with D. May), Polity 32: 233-52 (1999).

“The Supreme Court and Political Jurisprudence: New and Old Institutionalisms,” in Supreme Court Decision-Making (University of Chicago Press, 1999).

“The Court, the Constitution and the Clinton Administration” (with J. Giordano), in Peele et. al., Developments in American Politics, 3rd ed., (MacMillan, 1998).

“Separate Branches – Separate Politics: The Case for Judicial Enforcement of Congressional Intent,” Political Science Quarterly 109:843-872 (1995).

“Law, Politics and the New Federalism: State Attorneys General as National Policymakers,” The
Review of Politics 56:525 (1994).