Lecturer of Political Science
B.A., University of West Florida
M.A., University of West Florida
Ph.D., Baylor University
Matthew Brogdon coaches the university’s flourishing undergraduate moot court program––a simulation in which students litigate constitutional cases before the Supreme Court––and teaches widely in the fields of American political institutions, constitutional and political development, public law and judicial politics, and American political thought. He has also contributed to the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core’s social world curriculum on the history of political thought.
The focus of Dr. Brogdon’s research is the development of the federal judiciary from its origins in the Constitutional Convention to its institutional maturity in the twentieth century. He is currently working on a book entitled, Constitutional Origins of the Federal Judiciary, arguing that the key institutional reforms of the last century in the judiciary’s structure and jurisdiction are for the most part faithful reflections of the Framer’s design. The judiciary we now have should not therefore be seen as a modern innovation, but a working out of the Constitution’s institutional design. The rapid growth of federal judicial power and independence in the twentieth century would not alarm the Federalists who drafted Article III in the Convention and sought to bring about similar reforms in the early republic, nor would it surprise the Anti-Federalists and Jeffersonians who opposed such reforms. At the same time, however, the parallel development of the administrative state has frustrated the complete maturation of the judiciary. Substantial portions of “the judicial power” described in Article III have been vested in administrative bodies lacking the institutional protections afforded federal judges and thus lacking the independence with which the judicial power is constitutionally invested.
Dr. Brogdon’s research interests extend as well to a variety of topics in public law, American political thought (see his recent article on Andrew Jackson and federalism in The Review of Politics), religion and politics, political philosophy, and the political implications of literature and film.
Courses at Baylor:
PSC 1305 American National Government:
A course in American national government with emphasis on the historical background, structure, organization, and functioning of that government.
PSC 2302 American Constitutional Development:
An historical and institutional study of the background, content, development, and interpretation of the United States Constitution.
PSC 3311 Moot Court:
This course will prepare students to participate in moot court competitions, which simulate the experience of arguing a constitutional case before the Supreme Court. It is a highly profitable exercise that acquaints students with existing case law, hones their speech and analytical skills, and puts them in contact with practicing members of the legal community. Even students who do not compete will garner may of these advantages from participation in the course.
PSC 3330 The American Presidency:
The American presidency as a political institution and as one of the primary components of the United States governmental structure.
PSC 3353 American Political Thought:
An examination of American political and constitutional theory, from its philosophical genesis in the works of major early modern thinkers to the contributions of twentieth-century political and legal theorists. The original writings will be stressed.
PSC 4342 Public Policy and the Courts:
Course examines the role assumed by the Supreme Court in the making of public policy, its history, its justification, and its limits, by looking at such areas as economic policy (e.g., property rights, economic regulation, contracts); civil rights policy (e.g., segregation and affirmative action); social policy (e.g., family rights, child-rearing, education, reproduction issues); and campaign finance regulation. Class will read both Court cases and secondary literature on judicial policy-making.
PSC 4361 American Constitutional Law:
Constitutional law of the United States with basic cases concerning such subjects as separation of powers, federalism, the taxing and spending powers, and interstate and foreign commerce.
PSC 4V94 Slavery in American Political Development:
This course examines the role of slavery in American political development from the Founding through Reconstruction. We will explore the relationship between slavery and the Constitution as well as the impact of slavery on the development of the party system, national political institutions, foreign policy, federalism, constitutional law, American religion, and American political thought. Making extensive use of primary sources, we will delve into the thought of the most important political and religious leaders of the period and conclude by reading thoughtful retrospective treatments of slavery by the great African American statesmen, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington.
"Defending the Union: Andrew Jackson's Nullification Proclamation and American Federalism," The Review of Politics 73 (2011), 1-29
Works in Progress:
Article: "The Vesting Clauses and Federalism"
Book Manuscript: Constitutional Origins of the Federal Judiciary