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Emory v. Texas -- Public Law


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hey, i got to emory, but made up my mind the other week to head out to Berkeley. it's a great school and atlanta is a fine town with a lot to do. austin is probably fun too..i wouldn't decide as much based on that, since both will have good stuff to do for outside school.

also, the US News rankings between the 2 don't mean a lot, especially as they haven't been updated since 2005. emory's placement also is better than texas:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/08/21/ranking

I think in a lot of department's minds, Emory is considered a better place than Texas. Plus the program is small and you'll get good attention.

So I'd lean pretty heavily toward Emory as well.

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What are your interests within Public Law? At Texas you've also got great resources at the LBJ School and the Law School. In terms of respectability I think the schools are fairly even. Emory probably has better placement because its name, but Texas placement seems to be trending in a good direction. I would consider most things roughly equal. Honestly, I'd make the decision based on how well the faculty members/resources accommodate your particular interest within your field and how much personal attention they will afford you. That's going to make the difference when it comes to eventual placement.

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I somewhat echo the previous poster's sentiments with the additional observation that Emory and UT offer different kinds of Public Law specialists. Generally, as I understand things, public law breaks down into studies of "judicial politics" and "law and courts." Judicial Politics are generally associated with traditional behavioralist studies of American Politics (highly quantitiative and rat choice)... think scholars like Segal (Stony Brook), Epstein (WashU), Laurence Baum (OSU) and Neal Tate (Vanderbilt). These folks study judicial behavior in the same way scholars like Fenno study Congress. Then you have Law and Courts folks who are often involved in historical approaches and favor interpretive methodologies that fit well within an American Political Development tradition. Howard Gillman is probably the father of this movement, but today there are strong APD/Law and Courts/Constitutional Development Studies faculty at UT-Austin, Boston College (Ken Kersch, Shep Melnick, Mark Landy), Princeton (Keith Whittington).

I would say re: Emory vs. UT that Emory falls more in line with the Judicial Politics behavioralists whereas UT offers both with probably a stronger flavor of Law and Courts scholars who incorporate qualitative and historical approaches to their study of the court as an institution.

It basically comes down to whether you want to study the court as an institution (its development, role and historical place in American Politics) or study judges themselves (their behavior, their rat choice preferences, and outcomes based jurisprudence)....

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