Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr., Professor of American Politics
R. Shep Melnick is the Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Professor of American Politics. He teaches a variety of courses on American politics, including Courts and Public Policy, Ideas and Institutions in American Politics, Bureaucracy, Democracy in America, Rights in Conflict, and the American politics graduate field seminar.
Melnick's research and writing focuses on the intersection of law and politics. His first book, Regulation and the Courts, examined judicial influence on the development of environmental policy. His second, Between the Lines, investigated the ways in which statutory interpretation has shaped a variety of entitlement programs. His current research project looks at how the Rehnquist Court is reshaping our governing institutions.
Melnick is co-chair of the Harvard Program on Constitutional Government and a past president of the New England Political Science department. Before coming to Boston College 1997 he had taught at Harvard and at Brandeis, where he served as chair of the Politics department.
Taking Stock: American Government in the Twentieth Century, co-edited with Morton Keller (Woodrow Wilson Center and Cambridge Press, 1999)
Between the Lines: Interpreting Welfare Rights (Brookings, 1994)
Regulation and the Courts: The Case of the Clean Air Act (Brookings, 1983)
“Civil Wrongs,” Education Next, vol. 16, #1 (Winter, 2016)
“Federal Raid on Local Schools,” op-ed, Wall Street Journal, Sept. 13, 2015
“Gridlock and the Madisonian Constitution,” in Benjamin Wittes and Pietro Nivola, eds., What Would Madison Do? The Father of the Constitution Meets Modern American Politics (Brookings, 2015)
“The Federalism Failure,” in Bradley Wilson, ed., The Constitutional Legacy of William H. Rehnquist, (West Publishing, 2015)
“Courts and Agencies in the American Civil Rights State,” in Jeffrey Jenkins and Sidney Milkis, eds., The Politics of Major Policy Reform in Postwar America (Cambridge University Press, 2014)