Miller Center

Justin Peck

Politics, University of Virginia

Reclaiming Power: An Analysis of Congressional Reassertion Efforts, 1828–2002

Peck photo

Justin Peck is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at San Francisco State University

His research is in the areas of separation of powers (Congress and the presidency), American Political Development, and American political institutions, and race policy.  His work has appeared in Studies in American Political Development (“Between Reconstructions: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1891-1940” (April 2010), co-authored with Jeffery A. Jenkins and Vesla M. Weaver University of Virginia), and is forthcoming at the Law and History Review (“Building Toward Major Policy Change: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1940-1950,” coauthored with Jeffery A. Jenkins, University of Virginia.) His writing has also been published by the online edition of Dissent magazine.

Justin received a B.A. in Politics and History from Brandeis University in 2005. After graduating he went on to work on the legislative staff and presidential campaign of then-Senator Christopher J. Dodd. After spending two years in Washington, D.C. he made the transition to University of Virginia.

Justin's dissertation examines Congressional efforts to reassert authority vis-à-vis the executive branch.  He defines congressional reassertion as any attempt by Congress–using the formal law-making process–to challenge or contest executive branch governing authority. Through a detailed search of the History of Joint Bills and Resolutions, he compiles an index of legislative reassertion bills.  He then categorizes reassertion strategies over time, systematically analyzes the motivations underlying those who instigate such efforts, and specifies the political conditions that generate them.  In so doing, he uses both historical and large-n methodology to provide insight into one neglected aspect of Congressional behavior, to illustrate patterns in reassertion activity over time, and to demonstrate the policy consequences that inhere to conflicts over “who governs” in our system of separate institutions sharing powers.

Fellowship year: 2013

Mentor: William Howell, University of Chicago

Selected Recent Publications

"Congressional Reassertion of Authority.” in Oxford Bibliographies in Political Science. ed. Rick Valelly. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Building Toward Policy Change: Congressional Action on Civil Rights, 1941-1950.” with Jeffery A. Jenkins.  Law and History Review 31 (February 2013): 139-198

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