Kathleen Tipler’s research lies at the intersection of American constitutional politics, law and society, and political theory. She is particularly interested in questions of democratic and legal legitimacy – how legitimacy is constructed institutionally, and the relationship between legitimacy and public consciousness.
She is currently working on her first book project, Reflexive Governance and the Courts: The Judiciary and Democratic Legitimacy in the Age of Mass Politics. The book brings together two bodies of scholarship that are not conventionally discussed together: contemporary democratic theory, and empirical accounts of the American constitutional order. Using a series of case studies of legal institutions (such as state attorneys general and the Legal Services Corporation), the book applies and extends theories of reflexivity, offering an alternative approach to interpreting the judiciary’s democratic role.
Tipler also has ongoing research on reflexivity and public spaces; the legal consciousness of undocumented immigrants; and narratives of “backlash.” She has published on the obligations of the executive branch to defend DOMA and unconstitutional laws.
Tipler received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her B.A. from Pomona College. She previously held a postdoctoral fellowship at Kenyon College’s Center for the Study of American Democracy and was a visiting assistant professor at Wake Forest University.