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Paul M. Collins - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Paul M. Collins Paul M. Collins

Professor of Legal Studies and Political Science / Director of Legal Studies | University of Massachusetts Amherst


Paul Collins' research interests include understanding the democratic nature of the judiciary.


Areas of Expertise (2)

American Politics

Public Law


Paul M. Collins investigates the factors that shape the selection and decision-making process of U.S. Supreme Court justices and interest group litigation. He has published more than two dozen articles and is the author of the books Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and Friends of the Supreme Court: Interest Groups and Judicial Decision Making (Oxford University Press, 2008), which received the 2009 C. Herman Pritchett Award from the American Political Science Association.

Video Appearances





Paul M. Collins


Education (3)

Binghamton University (SUNY): Ph.D., Political Science

Binghamton University (SUNY): M.A., Political Science

University of Scranton.: B.S., Political Science

Press Coverage (7)

How Will Trump's Three Supreme Court Picks Affect New Challenge to Roe v. Wade?

Newsweek  online


Paul Collins said Trump's appointees "seem comfortable with overruling precedents they feel were wrongly decided" and this could include Roe. However, he believes the Court could limit itself when it comes to a ruling. "Look for Chief Justice Roberts to push the Court's conservative members to rule narrowly on the case to avoid controversy," Collins told Newsweek."

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Amy Klobuchar is Joe Biden’s best VP pick

The Boston Globe  print


Paul Collins is quoted about possible future Supreme Court nominees if Joe Biden is elected president.

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Massachusetts Citizens Commission Report

WGBY: Connecting Point  tv


A 2018 ballot question tasked the Massachusetts Citizens Commission with devising a plan to overturn the 2010 Citizens United ruling. nth, the Citizens Commision For context and analysis, Carrie Saldo spoke with UMass Amherst Professor of Political Science Paul Collins, Jr.

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With stakes beyond task at hand, John Roberts takes central role in Trump’s impeachment trial

The Washington Post  print


Paul M. Collins Jr., a University of Massachusetts at Amherst political scientist who studies the judiciary, described Chief Justice John Roberts’s dilemma in presiding over Pres. Trump's impeachment trial. “Any decision he makes in the president’s favor will be interpreted as partisan since Roberts is a Republican,” Collins said. “Yet any decision he makes against the president will be interpreted as biased, too.”

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Roberts will tap his inner umpire in impeachment trial

AP  print


Paul M. Collins Jr. says Chief Justice John Roberts isn’t likely to make controversial or partisan rulings in the upcoming impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump because that would undermine the view of the court as above politics and even handed

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Brett Kavanaugh’s Expert Evasions, Learned From Past Masters

The New York Times  print


Paul M. Collins says Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, has avoided answering questions during his confirmation hearings in a predictable pattern.

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Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin

CNN  tv


Paul M. Collins discusses the confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Paul Collins on CNN

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Publications (3)

Should the Supreme Court have term limits?

The Conversation

Paul M. Collins and Artemus Ward


Collins and Ward write: "Our extensive research on the Supreme Court shows life tenure, while well-intended, has had unforeseen consequences. It skews how the confirmation process and judicial decision-making work, and causes justices who want to retire to behave like political operatives."

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Trump attacked the Supreme Court again. Here are 4 things to know.

The Washington Post

Paul M. Collins Jr. and Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha


Once again, President Trump has picked a fight with the Supreme Court.

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Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings and Constitutional Change (Book)

Cambridge University Press

Paul M. Collins and Lori H. Ringhand


This book presents a contrarian view to the idea that the confirmation of Supreme Court nominees by the Senate Judiciary Committee is merely empty ritual and political grandstanding.

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