Political Science professor quoted in Fortune Magazine article

Fortune Magazine

Originally Posted: June 30, 2015

Chris Christie 2016: Should a bully be president?

For presidents, success is most often achieved not by pummeling opponents into submission but by schmoozing instead.

Of all of the printable words used to describe Chris Christie—bold, brash, boisterous—bully might be mentioned the most.

The Republican New Jersey governor has garnered a reputation for being short-fused, with a habit of countering slights with immediate, precise, and perhaps disproportionate retribution.

The New York Times in 2013 published a rundown of incidents in which Christie used his political power to administer payback to his opponents, no matter their prominence.

There were video clips of Christie publicly dressing down teachers who spoke out against his plan to cut public employee benefits. A New Jersey state senator, who’d previously served as governor, lost his security detail after Christie said he delayed a cabinet nominee. An institute run by a Rutgers professor lost funding after the professor sided with New Jersey Democrats on a redistricting plan. Then there were allegations from the mayor of Hoboken, who said Christie’s office threatened to withhold recovery aid for damage due to Hurricane Sandy if she failed to approve a development project. And most notably, investigations into the Bridgegate scandal revealed that Christie’s associates had ordered the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge, which caused a mammoth traffic jam, after the mayor of nearby Fort Lee, N.J., declined to endorse the governor for reelection.

At one point, Christie’s unfiltered and flamboyant style catapulted him onto the national stage. He reasserted himself there on Tuesday, announcing his bid for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. Christie’s trademark combativeness will distinguish him from the crowd of Republican competition, but will it make him a good president?

“Christie may well find that kind of aggressive demeanor to be better attuned to campaigning than governing,” says Cal Jillson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University. READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Lights… cameras… committees!

WFAA

Originally Posted: July 6, 2015

DALLAS —At Dallas City Hall, they’re stringing cable and installing video cameras. The city is investing $2.5 million in new equipment that will broadcast city government to a wider audience.

Before now, many committee meetings were not televised, and none were archived for easy public access. Now — after the City Council returns from its July recess — citizens will have access to 200 hours of live and recorded meetings every month.

“We feel it will make it easier for our residents to understand our business; how Council members arrive at the policy decisions that they’re making; and, at the end of the day, just making what we do easier to understand,” said city spokeswoman Sana Sayed.

Cal Jillson, a political science professor at SMU, applauds the high-tech access. “I think openness and transparency are always a good thing,” he said.

Committee meetings are where much of the heavy policy work is done — like drafting a plastic bag ban or writing rules so Uber can operate in the city. It’s also where citizens get more time to speak their mind.  READ MORE

Pamela Corley receives Supreme Court Historical Society Award

Associate Professor of Political Science Pamela Corley was recently awarded the Hughes-Gosset Award for the best article published in the Journal of Supreme Court History in the previous year. Professor Corley received this prestigious award at the Supreme Court Historical Society during the Annual Meeting on June 1, 2015. The title of Professor Corley’s article is “Revisiting the Roosevelt Court: The Critical Juncture from Consensus to Dissensus” and she co-authored the work with Amy Steigerwalt (Georgia State University) and Artemus Ward (Northern Illinois University).

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Professor Corley (second from left) is pictured receiving the award from Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Texas GOP Immigration Crackdown Fizzled … What Gives?

San Antonio Current

Originally Posted: June 10, 2015

AUSTIN — The 2015 session of the Texas Legislature, which ended last week rather unceremoniously, was widely panned as a bust.

Immigrant advocates couldn’t be any happier. They’re claiming victory.

“We were very excited, but it kept us on our toes,” Chloe Sikes, a member of the Coalition to Save In-State Tuition, told the San Antonio Current.

A slew of proposals cracking down on undocumented immigrants — from repealing in-state tuition to targeting disadvantaged children in medical care programs — died on the vine as time expired on their proponents.

Post-battle, those in the political trenches described behind-the-scenes machinations that dealt the fatal blows to the anti-immigrant bills. Scenes of high drama — suffused with broken loyalties, clash of wills, moral indignation — that would’ve made Shakespeare raise an eyebrow.

Sikes’ group primarily focused on SB 1819. The proposed legislation by State Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, would have repealed a 2001 measure (signed by fellow Republican Rick Perry, former Texas governor now on his second presidential quest) allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.

After spurts surfaced threatening to advance Campbell’s bill, it finally died on May 20 after the deadline for discussion passed.

“It was extra concerning the repeal effort was put forth in this session,” Sikes said. “Texas was the first to pass that type of legislation,” she noted with palpable pride. Indeed, many other states followed in the Lone Star State’s footsteps.

Other anti-immigration measures died a slow death on the rotunda floor, most notably SB 1252, directing the governor to negotiate an interstate border security compact toward federal immigration law enforcement; SB 185 aimed at outlawing so-called sanctuary cities; HB 2835, which would’ve given lower priority to taking undocumented children off medical waiting lists.

The mainstream media attributed the mass death of bills to the GOP focus on gays and guns. But battle-worn lawmakers who fought the latest anti-immigration bills described a wholesale change in dynamics from past sessions, prompted by the upending of the two-thirds rule in the Senate. In January, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick ended the 70-year practice of requiring the support of two-thirds of senators to bring up a measure in favor of a three-fifths majority. The old rule was in place to protect minority interests, a less-than-opaque measure by Patrick to push his party’s priorities.

“While it was definitely a loss for the Senate, it has empowered the House,” said State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, a San Antonio Democrat.

“The truth of the matter is there was no appetite for that kind of conversation in the state House, which is a more mature body,” Martinez-Fischer added. “Most of those bills originated in the Senate, but died a slow and painful death on the House floor.”

Indeed, SB 1819 and SB 185 never made it out of the Senate, while SB 1252 withered away in committee.

State Sen. José Menéndez, another SA Democrat, described a similar sense of empowerment in killing off bad bills — a rallying cry that even lured some Republicans to discreetly stray from party lines. The same three-fifths rule implanted this year now requires 12 senators to block a bill, prompting recruitment of dissenters across party lines.

“The Republicans who joined us think it’s not in the best interest of the state to be anti-Hispanic and anti-immigrant and don’t agree with those politics,” Menéndez told the Current.

The turncoats’ identities are being jealously guarded to shield them from potential backlash from their base in the next election cycle, Menéndez noted.

“We tried to provide them anonymity so they don’t get beat up in the next primary election,” he said.

The rise of the Tea Party and the intractable stance on social issues among its rank and file also increasingly complicates the way business gets done at the Legislature — prompting some Republicans dissenting from party ideology to quietly support Democrats with votes. “It’s caused so many moderate Republicans to be kicked out by these far-right Tea Party members,” Menéndez noted.

Cal Jillson, professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, said that anti-immigration bills largely failed — for the second consecutive legislative session — because they ran counter to the powerful businesses lobby.

Jillson invoked the trope of “campaigning in poetry and governing in prose” to further his argument.

“Texas has seen the value of a substantial supply of cheap labor. The anti-immigrant rhetoric and border security rhetoric is standard fare of elections, and that rhetoric is very effective,” he explained. “But when you get into governing, you have the lobbies pushing in a different direction.” READ MORE

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Former Gov. Perry to announce his second White House campaign

Texas Public Radio

Originally Posted: June 4, 2015

When the state’s longest serving governor announces his second presidential run Thursday, he is going to be surrounded by a star-studded group his campaign calls “patriots.”

At the Addison Airport just north of Dallas, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 65, will be flanked by decorated soldiers, including former Navy Seal Marcus Luttrell, who wrote the book, Lone Survivor. Taya Kyle, the widow of the celebrated military sniper and author, Chris Kyle, will also be there.

In a growing field of more than a dozen Republican presidential candidates, Perry will try to remind voters he served six years in the Air Force during the Vietnam era.

Political Science Prof. Cal Jillson, from Southern Methodist University, thinks that message is a stretch for Perry. “He’s one of the few Republican candidates, other than Lindsey Graham, who has military service, but it was a very long time ago,” says Jillson. Jillson says Perry’s stronger message will be that he presided over the State of Texas during an economic boom that, on his watch, created more jobs in Texas than any other state.  LISTEN

Cal Jillson, Political Science, flooding no threat to proposed Trinity Parkway

WFAA

Originally Posted: May 29, 2015

DALLAS – There’s a lot of water in the Trinity River running through Dallas, but not enough water to reach where the proposed Trinity Parkway toll road would be.

The Army Corps of Engineers crunched the numbers Tuesday, saying the river crested Sunday at 40.18 feet — that’s a five-year flood.

Inundating the proposed road would take a 100-year flood.

“We’ve only had one 100-year flood and that was in 1908. The road would be safe,” said Craig Holcomb, executive director of the Trinity Commons Foundation, which strongly supports building a toll road inside the flood plain. READ MORE

Joseph F. Kobylka, Political Science, “The Law, the Constitution, and Obergefell v. Hodges.”

7 p.m.
June 4, 2015
Dedman Life Sciences Building
Harold Jeskey Lecture Hall, Room 131
SMU

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Joseph F. Kobylka, Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Undergraduate Studies will discuss the impact of the pending case and imminent decision being made by the Supreme Court for same sex couples in Texas and around the nation. Following his presentation, he will take questions from the audience and lead discussion. Professor Kobylka teaches a course on the Supreme Court titled “Law, Politics, and the Supreme Court.” Over spring break earlier this year he took his students to Washington DC to visit the Supreme Court.

Cal Jillson, Political Science, Deadline Looms for Texas Senate

KTRK News Radio

Originally Posted: May 18, 2015

The Texas Senate faces a Friday deadline much like the House did last week which killed many top-priority bills for both parties, such as raising the criminal age of responsibility, direct sales for Tesla and expanding gay rights.

No measure is completely dead, they can still be tacked onto other legislation. Those that failed include a bill prohibiting same-sex marriage licenses in Texas.

“Its up to the leadership of both the House and Senate to be sure the critical bills, like the budget and like tax cuts or border security, are considered even at the expense of lots of other important legislation,” says SMU political science professor Cal Jillson.

House Republicans were able to push through tighter restrictions for minors seeking an abortion along with other controversial bills.

“Graduating seniors in Texas high schools no longer have to pass 15 exams, no longer have to pass even five,” says Dr. Jillson. “The fracking ban has already been passed, but the bills that have not yet passed but must, the most important is the budget.”

If not in June, lawmakers know they’ll likely be back for special session.

“The Texas Supreme Court will likely order the Texas Legislature to provide more money to public schools, so the legislature will have to come into special session to consider how to comply,” says Jillson.

READ MORE

Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia: Why the Saudi King Snubbed President Obama

Time

Originally Posted: MAy 15, 2015

By Robert W. Jordan

King Salman of Saudi Arabia has declined an invitation to participate in President Barack Obama’s Gulf summit meeting in Camp David this week. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia are working to minimize the fallout from this decision, but from the Saudi standpoint, this summit does not hold much attraction. Only two other heads of the Gulf states are attending. Two are in poor health, but the other non-attendees may be following Riyadh’s lead. Some of this reticence may derive from a festering series of policy disagreements that contribute to seriously frayed relations with the Gulf monarchies.

In their view, Obama was surprisingly willing to promote the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, declaring that it was time for him to go and insisting on being on the “right side of history.” Arab monarchs began to wonder whether, if this could happen to Mubarak, would this administration decide that they, too, were on the wrong side of history? They then witnessed the president’s about-face on Syria, backing away from even minimal military action against Bashar Al Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Most worrisome is the impending agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, which portends a closer American relationship with the perceived archenemy of the Gulf Arabs. Removing sanctions against Iran and freeing up billions in funds raises the threat level perceived by the Saudis and their neighbors, who fear a growing encirclement by Iran and its proxies, to say nothing of the prospect of a nuclear capable Iran that would dramatically change the balance of power in the Middle East. READ MORE

Dedman College students receive prestigious national fellowships and awards

Congratulations to the Dedman College students awarded prestigious national fellowships and awards during the 2014-15 academic year, including Fulbright Grants and a fellowship to the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress. These students include:

Fulbright Scholar:

Whitney Goodwin
Michaela Wallerstedt
Kandi Doming

Institute for Responsible Citizenship Scholar:

Garrett Fisher

Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress Presidential Fellow:

Tracy Nelson

National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Nicole Hartman

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