Kenneth Kersch, associate professor of political science
JD, Northwestern University; Ph.D., Cornell University
Representative publication: The Supreme Court and American Political Development (University Press of Kansas, 2006) (coedited with Ronald Kahn)
The United States was a pioneer in the establishment of government under a written constitution. One of the advantages of life under such a constitution is that the structure and limits of government are fixed and explicit, subject to change, presumably, only through expressly agreed-upon processes. At the same time, however, anyone with a passing familiarity with American history will recognize that the constitutional rules of the game have altered, sometimes radically, from those set out in the original constitutional text. Although some of these changes have been instituted by formal amendment, most have come about by more mysterious processes. My main research interest is in the forces and processes of informal constitutional change. My special focus is on the ways that the rise of the modern administrative state, and new ideas about the relationship between the individual and groups and government, have transformed the way that government officials, intellectuals, political actors, and ordinary people have viewed the Constitutionís meaning.