Bowie Named Fenwick Fellow for 2009-10

Posted: June 1, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: May 29, 2009 at 3:28 pm

The Fenwick Fellow for the 2009-10 academic year is Jennifer Barnes Bowie, assistant professor of government and politics in the Department of Public and International Affairs, University Librarian John Zenelis announced.

Bowie’s project, titled “Explaining Decision Making on the United States Courts of Appeals:  Do Circuit Courts of Appeals Judges Fear Reversal from their Circuit En Banc?” sets out to determine under what conditions federal circuit courts of appeals judges are concerned by reversal from their circuit en banc, meaning when all judges of the court hear the case.

Using the strategic decision-making framework, she posits that goals, institutions and interactions explain variation in lower court compliance.

Bowie hypothesizes that the likelihood of review and reversal systematically influences whether judges will consider the threat of circuit en banc reversal when making their decisions.

She will test this hypothesis utilizing both quantitative and qualitative analyses.

Professor Bowie plans to collect and use interview data from courts of appeals judges from multiple circuits.

Then, using en banc data from selected courts of appeals, which she will obtain through Westlaw access, she will model empirically whether courts of appeals judges alter their decision-making patterns in an attempt to avoid review and reversal by their circuit en banc.

Finally, by combining interview and statistical data, Bowie will arrive at an explanation of decision making in the courts of appeals. The research materials acquired through this research project, which include books on federal court decision making, will be added to the libraries’ collections.

Bowie hopes the research will help her secure funding from the National Science Foundation to create a judicial database dedicated to hierarchical analysis. She would also like to publish a book on the topic.

The Fenwick Fellowship is awarded annually to a Mason tenured or tenure-track faculty member to pursue a research project that uses and enhances the University Libraries’ resources while advancing knowledge in his or her field.

The fellowship is recommended by a six-member selection committee comprising three instructional faculty members and three librarians.

The fellowship provides the recipient with a furnished office in Fenwick Library and an award of $5,000 to support the research project.

Bowie will present the results of her work in a public lecture sponsored by the libraries in the fall or spring of the 2010-11 academic year.

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