Alumni (National Fellow)

Justin Peck

National Fellow
B.A. Brandeis University (2005) with Highest Honors
Ph.D. University of Virginia (2013)
Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Professional Sector:
Dream Mentor:
William Howell
University of Chicago
Fields of Interest:
African American History
American Political Development
Political Science


Justin Peck an assistant professor in the Department of Government at Wesleyan University. His scholarly work concerns Congress, the presidency, and American Political Development. One area of research explores the tensions that exist between between the modern presidency and the rule of law. Another considers Congress’s role in the promotion and enactment of civil rights initiatives. Dr. Peck’s research employs detailed historical analyses of both qualitative and quantitative data to explain political decisions and policy enactments. Dr. Peck holds a B.A. in politics and history from Brandeis University, and a Ph.D. in government from the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the Government Department at Wesleyan, he served as an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at San Francisco State University.

Thesis Description:

Reclaiming Power: An Analysis of Congressional Reassertion Efforts, 1828-2002
Peck’s dissertation, “Reclaiming Power: An Analysis of Congressional Reassertion Efforts, 1828-2002,” examines Congressional efforts to reassert authority vis-a-vis the executive branch. He defines congressional reassertion as any attempt by Congress-using the formal law-making process-to challenge or contest executive branch governing authority. Through a detailed search of the History of Joint Bills and Resolutions, he compiles an index of legislative reassertion bills. He then categorizes reassertion strategies over time, systematically analyzes the motivations underlying those who instigate such efforts, and specifies the political conditions that generate them. In so doing, he uses both historical and large-n methodology to provide insight into one neglected aspect of Congressional behavior, to illustrate patterns in reassertion activity over time, and to demonstrate the policy consequences that inhere to conflicts over “who governs” in our system of separate institutions sharing powers.

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