Timothy R. Johnson received his bachelor’s degree from Gustavus Adolphus College and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Washington University in St. Louis. He joined the University of Minnesota faculty in 2000 where he has worked tirelessly to accomplish the academic triple threat of excellence in research, teaching, and service.
Johnson’s teaching and research concentrate on law and politics. He is particularly interested in the U.S. Supreme Court and is a nationally recognized expert on Supreme Court oral arguments and decision making. He is the author or co-author of three books and the co-editor of a fourth, including Oral Arguments and Coalition Formation on the U.S. Supreme Court (2012), A Good Quarrel (2009), and Oral Arguments and Decision Making on the U.S. Supreme Court (2004). Johnson was co-editor (2013-2016) of the prestigious multidisciplinary `Law and Society Review and is currently the chair of the Law and Court’s section of the American Political Science Association.
Beyond research Johnson has directed 12 doctoral students who have produced their own research that has made a major impact on the field of American politics and who are on faculty at a wide range of colleges and universities including the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Bowdoin College, Loyola University Chicago, the University of Kentucky, Oklahoma State University, and several others. In addition, he has advised more than 100 undergraduate senior and honors theses, has mentored five Undergraduate Research Opportunities projects, and has published extensively with his current and former undergraduate and graduate students. For his work with undergraduates Johnson won the 2007 Arthur “Red” Motley Exemplary Teaching Award. College of Liberal Arts, the 2008 Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, and the 2012 John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. He is also a three-time mentor in the University of Minnesota’s President’s Distinguished Faculty Mentor Program, which links high-ability students of color with distinguished faculty members who serve as mentors for the students’ personal and professional growth.
Johnson is quite interested in teaching beyond the classroom to help the public better understand the judiciary and its place in the U.S. system of government. As such, he is a regular speaker about the judiciary locally, state wide, and nationally. In addition, his research and commentary have been covered by The Economist, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, MPR, WCCO Radio, C-SPAN, Slate, USA Today, ABC, CNN, and The National Journal.
Currently, Johnson is working on a $400,000 National Science Foundation Grant that focuses on how Supreme Court conference discussions affect how justices make decisions. This project will advance scholarly understanding of the Court and open its private deliberations to the public in a way not before seen in the literature.