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Tonja Jacobi

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Professor of Law


Areas of Focus

  • Supreme Court oral arguments
  • Constitutional criminal procedure
  • Judicial politics
  • Public law
  • Game theory


  • Supreme Court decision-making, opinion writing, voting, oral arguments, doctrinal development, judicial nominations and retirement, coalition-formation and agenda-setting through signaling
  • How political institutions interact to shape the law, particularly constitutional law and constitutional criminal procedure
  • How provisions of the U.S. Constitution contribute to its stability
  • Use of federalism to transform minority positions into majority positions
  • Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act
  • Development of same-sex marriage rights
  • Impact of parole requirements on individual and community rights
  • The Miranda doctrine's failure to protect the rights of the innocent
  • Use of warrants and the Terry doctrine
  • Impact of public opinion on death penalty decisions
  • Gender and law


Jacobi has a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University, a master's from the University of California, Berkeley, and a law degree with first class honors from the Australian National University. She has published in more than 40 peer review and law review journals and is the co-founder of, a website devoted to empirical analyses of Supreme Court oral arguments.