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Scott Boddery

Scott Boddery
Political Science, PhD

Through quantitative research Boddery seeks to emphasize “the intensely political nature of the U.S. domestic court system and how that role can, nevertheless, be reconciled with the commonly held belief that judges are impartial arbiters” as well as “the importance of permanently sitting tribunals over ad hoc bodies” in international courts.

As a law student, Scott Boddery developed an interest in the strategic interactions between the judiciary and the political branches of the U.S. government – specifically, he explains, “how judicial opinions, while framed in the law, can increasingly be explained by an unelected justice’s personal ideology.” Now a doctoral student in the Political Science Department, Boddery seeks to emphasize through research “the intensely political nature of the U.S. domestic court system and how that role can, nevertheless, be reconciled with the commonly held belief that judges are impartial arbiters,” he says. “Concerning international courts, I hope my research will demonstrate the importance of permanently sitting tribunals over ad hoc bodies.

“My research primarily focuses on three stages of federal judicial careers,” Boddery says: the interaction between the president and the Senate with regard to the nominations of Article III judges; the role of public opinion when courts issue rulings contrary to the preferences of the political branches or the general public; and the incentives for federal judges to strategically retire so to create their own lasting legacy on the bench. In addition to these domestic applications, Boddery adds that he “tangentially” studies “the effect of multinational courts, like the International Criminal Court, on signatory nations’ policies.”

Boddery attributes the development of his interest in judicial politics to Binghamton University Professor Jeffrey Yates who, while visiting Florida State College of Law in 2010, introduced him to literature on the subject. “I ultimately chose to pursue my doctoral work at Binghamton University because of the Political Science Department’s national reputation and because of the work being done by Professor Yates and Associate Professor Wendy Martinek, which closely mirrors my own interests,” he says.

“Binghamton’s Political Science Department intensely trains its graduate students in numerous methodologies which will broaden my research horizon and strengthen my capacity to produce high quality work as a political scientist,” Boddery says. He adds that the “collegial atmosphere in the Political Science Department at Binghamton is incredible and has helped to foster my growth as a young scholar. Irrespective of a professor’s subfield, advice can be sought and guidance is freely given. Weekly workshops give graduate students an opportunity to present their research so that they can fine-tune their theories and methodological approaches. These aspects of Binghamton’s Political Science Department make it stand out from larger, less student-centered programs.”

Later this year, Boddery will showcase the benefits of the methodological training and supportive faculty at Binghamton when he presents a paper at the American Political Science Association’s annual conference. His paper will address “the effect of the International Criminal Court on human rights practices within non-signatory nations and the fact that although non-signatories are not easily subject to the ICC’s jurisdictional reach, increased Court activity has caused non-signatory nations to improve their human rights practices.”

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Last Updated: 10/23/12