My research falls into four main categories:  research on the legitimacy of the courts (my current focus); research on Supreme Court decision making; research on Circuit Court of Appeals decision making; and research on state court decision making.

Legitimacy of Courts

Davis, Taraleigh and Sara C. Benesh. 2023. “Procedural Justice and the Shadow Docket.” Emory Law Journal 73:(2): 443-469.

Fettig, Shawn C. and Sara C. Benesh.  2016.  “Be Careful With My Court: Legitimacy, Public Opinion, and the Chief Justices.”  In The Chief Justice:  Appointment and Influence, Artemus Ward and David Danelski, Editors.  Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan.

Benesh, Sara C.  2013. “Judicial Elections: Directions in the Study of Institutional Legitimacy,” Judicature  96(4): 204-208.

Benesh, Sara C.  2006.  “Understanding Public Confidence in American Courts.”  Journal of Politics, 68(3):697-707.  Winner, Houghton Mifflin Award for the best journal article published in Law & Courts by a political scientist in 2006 from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association.

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

Supreme Court Decision Making

Benesh, Sara C. 2023. “How can we tell what the Constitution means?” In The U.S. Constitution in Five Minutes.  David Klein and Joseph Smith, Eds. London: Equinox.

Benesh, Sara C., David A. Armstrong, and Zachary C. Wallander.  2020.  “Advisors to Elites: Untangling their Effect.” Journal of Law and Courts 8(1): Forthcoming.

Spaeth, Harold J., Lee Epstein, Andrew D. Martin, Jeffrey A. Segal, Theodore J. Ruger, and Sara C. Benesh. 2016 Supreme Court Database, Version 2016 Release 01. URL: http://supremecourtdatabase.org.

Benesh, Sara C., Jennifer K. Luse, Amanda Schaeffer and Nicole Simmons.  2014.  “Supreme Court Monitoring Via GVRs.”  Justice System Journal 35(2):162-177.

Wallander, Zachary and Sara C. Benesh.  2014.  “Law Clerks as Advisors:  Evidence from the Blackmun Papers.”  Marquette Law Review 98(1):43-73.

Benesh, Sara C.  2008.  “Supreme Court Monitoring via GVRs.”  Southern Illinois Law Review 32:  659-681.

Benesh, Sara C. and Harold J. Spaeth.  2007.  “The Constraint of Law:  A Study of Supreme Court Dissensus.”  American Politics Research 35:755-768.

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

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

Benesh, Sara C., Reggie S. Sheehan, and Harold J. Spaeth. 1999. “Equity in Opinion Assignment on the United States Supreme Court.” Jurimetrics 39:377-389.

Circuit Court of Appeal Decision Making

Benesh, Sara C., Jennifer K. Jacobson, Amanda Schaefer, and Nicole Simmons. 2014. “Supreme Court GVRs and Lower-Court Reactions.” Justice System Journal 35(2): 162-177.

Benesh, Sara C. and Wendy L. Martinek.  2012.  “Lower Court Compliance with Supreme Court Precedent.”  In New Directions in Judicial Politics, Kevin T. McGuire, Editor.  New York:  Routledge.

Luse, Jennifer K., 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

Benesh, Sara C. and Jason Czarnezki.  2009.  “The Ideology of Legal Interpretation.”  Washington University Journal of Law and Policy 29:113-132.

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.

Kaheny, Erin, Sara C. Benesh, and Susan H. Haire.  2008.  “Career Stage and Decisional Variance: A Comparative Analysis of Seventh, Eighth, and Fourth Circuit Judges.”  Southern Illinois Law Review, 509-525.

Benesh, Sara C.  2006.  “The Contribution of ‘Extra’ Judges.”  University of Arizona Law Review, 48(2):301-315.

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. 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. 2001. “The Hierarchy of Justice and Nonpublication.” Law and Courts 11(3):5-7.

Reddick, Malia and Sara C. Benesh. 2000. “Norm Violation by the Lower Courts in the Treatment of Supreme Court Precedent.” Justice System Journal 21:117-142.

State Courts Decision Making

Edelstein, Benjamin D. and Sara C. Benesh. 2024. “Recusal as Remedy: Disincentivizing Donors.” State Politics & Policy Quarterly 24(1):77-98.

Benesh, Sara C. and Wendy L. Martinek.  2012.  “The Wisconsin Judiciary.”  In Wisconsin Government and Politics, Tenth Edition.  Thomas Holbrook, Editor.  Boston: McGraw Hill.

Benesh, Sara C. and Wendy L. Martinek.  2010.  “Context and Compliance:  A Comparison of State Supreme Courts and the Circuits.”  Marquette Law Review 93(2):795-824.

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

On the Discipline

Benesh, Sara C.  2017.  “The Use of Observational Data (e.g., The Spaeth Database) To Study Law and the Judiciary.”  In The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Judicial Behavior.  Lee Epstein and Stefanie Lindquist, eds.  New York:  Oxford University Press.

Benesh, Sara C.  2013.  “APSA Recap and Thoughts for the Future.”  Law and Courts 23(3):5-8.

Benesh, Sara C.  2009.  “Who Am I? Why Am I Here?”  Law and Courts 19(3):  7-9.

Benesh, Sara C.  2006.  “Becoming an Intelligent User of the Spaeth Databases.”  Law and Courts 16(1):15-21.

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. 2001. “The Key to a Successful Prospectus: Consult An Advisor, Early and Often.” PS: Political Science & Politics 34(4):853-854.

Benesh, Sara C. and Christopher J. W. Zorn. 1998. “Data Transformations for the Analysis of Judicial Voting: Part I, The Supreme Court Judicial Database.” 8 Law and Courts 9-12 (Summer).