USC professor Lee Epstein awarded Guggenheim Fellowship

April 12, 2013

Contact: Gilien Silsby at (213) 740-9690 or

April 12, 2013 – USC Provost Professor Lee Epstein, a nationally renowned law and politics scholar, has been awarded a coveted fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Recognized for “achievement and exceptional promise,” Epstein is one of 175 scholars, artists and scientists honored with the mid-career Guggenheim Fellowship. Epstein won for her scholarship assessing diversity on the federal bench and the effect of gender, race and religion on judging.

“I'm honored to serve as a Guggenheim fellow and look forward to continuing my work on the role of diversity in the federal courts,” said Epstein, USC Provost Professor of Law and Political Science and Rader Family Trustee Chair in Law.

Although the fellowships traditionally support a scholar’s work for a set block of time – between six and 12 months – Epstein said she will continue to teach her courses at USC Gould School of Law and USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, where she holds a joint appointment.

“I have long been an admirer of Professor Epstein’s outstanding scholarship in the areas of constitutional law,  judicial behavior and the empirical analysis of legal institutions; she is the prototypical Provost Professor who combines insights from several disciplines to produce research of consequence. Being awarded a prestigious Guggenheim fellowship is testament to her high regard within the larger academic community and places her in the uppermost ranks of our profession,” said USC Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Elizabeth Garrett.

The fellows, announced on April 11, are appointed on the basis of distinguished achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.

“Lee's work has had a profound influence on the study of law and courts, and her ongoing work continues to set the terms of the debate in the field,” said USC Gould Dean Robert K. Rasmussen. “She is not only a brilliant scholar, she is an exceptional teacher who truly cares about her students and colleagues.”

Epstein, a pioneering figure in the study of judicial behavior, examines judicial decision-making, the politics of judicial appointments, law and judicial politics, law and social science, and empirical legal research. She regularly contributes to analyses in major news publications such as the New York Times.

Epstein is the author of The Behavior of Federal Judges (Harvard University Press, 2013) with Judge Richard Posner and William Landes of University of Chicago. The book, which offers empirical analysis of judicial behavior, attempts to unfurl the mystery behind the often-secretive behavior of judges and how decisions are made in district courts, circuit courts and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Epstein recently received the Law & Court Service Award from the American Political Science Association’s Law and Courts section. She was chosen for the service award for her “long-standing and constant efforts to build resources for the field, her hard work as an organizer of events and chair of committees that undergird our field, her representation of judicial politics research in public fora, her editorial service, and her mentorship of junior scholars.”

Epstein was also selected to serve as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar for the 2013-14 academic year. She is one of 14 distinguished scholars in the liberal arts and sciences nationally chosen by the honor society to deliver public lectures and participate in academic life at 80 institutions of higher learning.