Allison Harris– 2017 Edward S. Corwin Award Recipient

The Edward S. Corwin prize is awarded annually for the best dissertation in the field of public law. It carries a prize of $750.

The Corwin award is for the best doctoral dissertation completed and accepted during that year or the previous year in the field of public law, broadly defined to include the judicial process, judicial behavior, judicial biography, courts, law, legal systems, the American constitutional system, civil liberties, or any other substantial area, or any work which deals in a significant fashion with a topic related to or having substantial impact on the American Constitution.

Edward S. Corwin was a former Association president who is nationally known and widely published. He consulted with many other academics as well as politicians involved with constitutional issues, most notably when he publicly supported Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Supreme Court reorganization (“court packing”) plan.

Allison P. Harris is an assistant professor in the Political Science Department at Pennsylvania State University. Her research is in the subfield of American politics with specific focus in the areas of judicial politics, the criminal justice system, state politics, representation, and political methodology.

Allison’s current research program investigates the effect of group-level characteristics on individual criminal court judges’ decisions. Specifically, she finds that as the group of judges comprising the criminal court bench becomes more racially diverse, individual judges are less likely to render incarceration sentences in felony cases with Black defendants. Allison’s other projects address disparities in police traffic stops, changes in public opinion on reparations, and the relationship between redistricting and state-level polarization.

Allison received her doctorate from the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago in 2016, and she spent the 2016-2017 academic year as a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University.

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