About Me

I am an Assistant Professor of Government & International Affairs and Pre-Law Advisor at University of the Incarnate Word.  My research and teaching subfields of interest are Public Law (Law & Courts) and American Politics.

My completed dissertation project explains a broad outcome of interest for legal scholars and political scientists: The Roberts Court record on freedom of expression.   By building on extant scholarship that has highlighted the importance of considering both “internal” and “external” perspectives of judicial decision-making, the project makes three broader contributions to the study of judicial decision-making and freedom of expression:

1) Reconceptualizing the decision direction variable in free speech cases.

2) Comparing the average effect of judicial preferences across aggregated judicial votes to voting coalitions via typologies.

3) Using the population of denials of certiorari as additional leverage in assessing ideological and legal explanations for the Court’s free expression agenda.

Each of these innovations has the potential to travel beyond First Amendment freedom of expression cases and the current Court to other issue areas and periods, laying the groundwork for a continuing research agenda that re-examines fundamental assumptions of U.S. Supreme Court decision-making studies.

Dissertaton Committee Members: Thomas M. Keck (Advisor), Keith J. Bybee, Grant D. Reeher, Colin Elman, Dimitar Gueorguiev, David M. Driesen (Chair)

Defended: April 7, 2017. Winner of the All-University Dissertation Award of Syracuse University.

For additional concerns or queries, you may contact me at metroka@uiwtx.edu