Elizabeth Garrett Named Fellow of Prestigious Academy



Tuesday, Oct 18, 2011

USC Provost and Law Professor is an authority on direct democracy

-By Carl Marziali

Elizabeth Garrett, USC provost and USC Gould School of Law professor, has been elected to The American Academy of Political and Social Science (AAPSS), a prestigious honor shared by only three other USC scholars, and will be inducted as a Harold Lasswell Fellow.

Garrett was chosen “in recognition of the contributions you have made to the progress of the social sciences and to communicating that understanding beyond your own discipline,” said academy president Douglas S. Massey in a letter announcing Garrett’s election.

“Provost Garrett’s scholarship addresses significant social problems in creative and meaningful ways,” said USC president C. L. Max Nikias. “This prestigious honor is certainly well-deserved, and everyone at USC warmly salutes her stellar leadership in the areas of political and social science.”

Garrett is the Frances R. and John J. Duggan Professor of Law, Political Science and Public Policy at the USC Gould School of Law. She holds joint appointments at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development, as well as a courtesy appointment at the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

She is one of the leading authorities on the study of direct democracy, including initiatives, referenda and recalls.

“Her rigorous analysis of the institution of government is required reading for those studying the legislative process, whether it be done at the national, state or local level. She draws on insights from law, political science and economics to offer a better understanding of the processes by which laws are made,” said USC Law Dean Robert K. Rasmussen.

Garrett’s scholarship also has identified “framework legislation” as a specific kind of federal law that shapes many key policies at the national level. She is one of the country’s leading experts on statutory interpretation and the role of institutions -– judicial, legislative and administrative -– in shaping the interpretive process.

Her recent article on Justice Thurgood Marshall’s jurisprudence on law and politics was cited in both the majority opinion and the dissent in the Supreme Court’s 2010 case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

In 2009, she was appointed to serve as a member of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. In 2005, George W. Bush appointed her to the bipartisan President’s Panel on Federal Tax Reform.

Before joining the USC faculty in 2003, Garrett was a professor of law at The University of Chicago, where she also served as deputy dean for academic affairs. She has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Virginia School of Law and Central European University in Budapest.

Before entering academics, Garrett clerked for Justice Marshall on the United States Supreme Court and served as legal counsel and legislative director for Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.).

Garrett also has served as co-director of the USC-Caltech Center for the Study of Law and Politics. She has authored more than 50 published chapters and articles analyzing budget policy, campaign finance laws, courts and political parties, among other topics.

In becoming an AAPSS fellow, Garrett joins University Professor Manuel Castells, University Professor Geoffrey Cowan and Provost Professor Lee Epstein.

The academy was founded in Philadelphia in 1889 to promote progress in the social sciences. Past officers include Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover. It is best known for its influential journal, The ANNALS.