Thomas M. Keck

Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics

Chair, Department of Political Science

Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs

Syracuse University 








Tom Keck is the Michael O. Sawyer Chair of Constitutional Law and Politics and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Professor Keck is the author of The Most Activist Supreme Court in History: The Road to Modern Judicial Conservatism, which examined the remarkable rise of conservative judicial activism in the late twentieth century (and the surprising resilience of liberal judicial activism during this same period). Writing in the American Political Science Review, Professor Keck has also offered an original account of the competing pulls of partisan loyalty and legal obligation on Supreme Court decision-making, an account which received the Houghton Mifflin Award for the best journal article on law and courts written by a political scientist in 2007. Most recently, writing in the Law and Society Review, Keck documented the sweeping policy changes that have resulted from contemporary litigation on behalf of LGBT rights. Combining this research with similar examinations of abortion, affirmative action, and gun rights, he is currently writing a book on the courts and the culture wars during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama eras.

Professor Keck received his B.A. in Politics from Oberlin College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science from Rutgers University. As holder of the Sawyer Chair since 2009, he directs the Sawyer Law and Politics Program (SLAPP), an interdisciplinary initiative devoted to advancing teaching and research in the field of law and politics. SLAPP hosts a regular seminar series in which leading law-and-politics experts from around the country present their current research, and it also provides funding for doctoral students in the Maxwell School's political science program who are pursuing law-and-politics research of their own. Prospective graduate students in the field should contact him for further information.