Sara BeneshSara C. Benesh

Associate Professor

Office: Bolton, Room 678
Phone: (414) 229-6720
Web Page:
Curriculum Vitae: pdf


Ph.D., Political Science, Michigan State University, 1999
M.A., Political Science, Michigan State University, 1997
B.A., Political Science and English, Saint Norbert College, 1995

Courses Taught:

PolSci 104: Introduction to American Government and Politics - Syllabus (pdf)
PolSci 412: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties - Online (pdf)
PolSci 417: The Supreme Court - Syllabus (pdf)
PolSci 471: Civil Liberties in a Time of Crisis - Online (pdf)
PolSci 963: Seminar in Judicial Politics and Behavior - Syllabus (pdf)

Research Interests:

Judicial decision making (U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. Supreme Court, state courts of last resort, lower federal and state courts), public opinion, nonlawyer judges, and the courts of other countries.

Current Projects:

Benesh, Sara C., Jennifer K. Luse, Amanda Schaeffer and Nicole Simmons. "Supreme Court Monitoring Via GVRs."
Wallander, Zachary and Sara C. Benesh. "The Influence of Law Clerks: Evidence from the Blackmun Papers."

Selected Publications:

Jennifer K. Luse, Geoffrey McGovern, Wendy L. Martinek, and Sara C. Benesh. 2009. "'Such Inferior Courts ...': Compliance by Circuits with Jurisprudential Regimes." American Politics Research 37: 75-106

Kaheny, Erin, Susan Haire, and Sara C. Benesh. 2008. "Change Over Tenure: Voting, Variance, and Decision Making on The U.S. Courts of Appeals." American Journal of Political Science, 52(3): 490-503.

Benesh, Sara C. 2006. "Understanding Public Confidence in American Courts." Journal of Politics, 68(3):697-707.

Segal, Jeffrey A., Harold J. Spaeth, and Sara C. Benesh. 2005. The Supreme Court and the American Legal System. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Benesh, Sara C. 2003. "Harold J. Spaeth: The Supreme Court Computer." In The Pioneers of Judicial Behavior. Nancy Maveety, Editor. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Benesh, Sara C. 2002. The U.S. Court of Appeals and the Law of Confessions: Perspectives on the Hierarchy of Justice. New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing.

Benesh, Sara C., Saul Brenner, and Harold J. Spaeth. 2002. "Aggressive Grants by Affirm-Minded Justices." American Politics Review (formerly American Politics Quarterly) 30(3):219-234.

Benesh, Sara C. and Wendy L. Martinek. 2002. "State Court Decision Making in Confession Cases." Justice System Journal 23(1):109-133.

Benesh, Sara C. and Malia Reddick. 2002. "Overruled: An Event History Analysis of Lower Court Reaction to Supreme Court Alterations of Precedent." Journal of Politics 64(2):534-550.

Benesh, Sara C. and Susan Howell. 2001. "Confidence in the Courts: A Comparison of Users and Non-Users." Behavioral Sciences and the Law 19:199-214.