Prof. Lee Epstein

Lee Epstein
US Constitutional Law


Lee Epstein is the Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Before returning to Washington U., she was Provost Professor of Law and Political Science and the Rader Family Trustee Chair in Law at the University of Southern California; the Henry Wade Rogers Professor, a University-wide chair, at Northwestern University; and the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.

In 2004, she was designated a Thorsten Sellin Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science; and in 2006 she was named a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also serves as Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago, a Principal Investigator of U.S. Supreme Court Database project, and co-editor of the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, among other professional positions. 

Professor Epstein's interests center on the U.S. Supreme Court, judicial behavior, empirical legal studies, and constitutional law. Her latest book, An Introduction to Empirical Legal Research(with Andrew D. Martin), was published in late 2014 (Oxford University Press). Other recent projects (with William M. Landes and Richard A. Posner) include The Behavior of Federal Judges(Harvard University Press, 2013); "Revisiting the Ideological Rankings of Supreme Court Justices" (Journal of Legal Sudies,forthcoming), "The Best for Last: The Timing of U.S. Supreme Court Decisions" (Duke Law Journal, forthcoming), and How Business Fares in the Supreme Court (Minnesota Law Review). Two new papers, "Foreword: Testing the Constitution" (with Barry Friedman and Geoffrey Stone) and "The Decision to Depart (or Not) from Precedent" (with Landes and Adam Liptak) will appear next year in the NYU Law Review.

She is now working on several books—one that examines how national and local economic trends affect judicial decisions and another, on diversity in the federal courts. Professsor Epstein is also co-editing (with Stefanie A. Lindqust) The Oxford Handbook of American Law and the Judiciary.

A recipient of 12 grants from the National Science Foundation, Professor Epstein has authored or co-authored over 100 articles and essays and 17 books, including The Choices Justices Make(co-authored with Jack Knight), which won the Pritchett Award for the Best Book on Law and Courts and, more recently, the Lasting Contribution Award "for a book or journal article, 10 years or older, that has made a lasting impression on the field of law and courts." The Constitutional Law for a Changing America series (co-authored with Thomas Walker), now in its 8th edition, received the Teaching and Mentoring Award from a section of the American Political Science Association. Other recent honors include a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her work on diversity in the federal courts, a Best Free Reference Website Award for the U.S. Supreme Court Database, (from Emerging Technologies, Association of the American Library Association), the Law & Courts Service Award, and an “Exemplary Legal Writing” Honor for On the Perils of Drawing Inferences about Supreme Court Justices from their First Few Years of Service (from Green Bag).

Professor Epstein teaches courses on constitutional law, judicial behavior, the U.S. Supreme Court, and research design and methods. In 2011, she received Northwestern University School of Law's Outstanding First-Year Course Professor Award. At Washington University she was named Professor of the Year by the Undergraduate Political Science Association and received a Faculty of the Year Award from the Student Union. She is also a recipient of Washington University’s Alumni Board of Governors Distinguished Faculty Award and the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award.