Meet the Researcher - Faith Privett

Breakout Room: 27

Faith_Privett_HeadshotResearcher Name: Faith Privett
Title of Research: 'Clad in Sheep's Clothing': An Analysis of the Influence of Attitudinal and Extra-Legal Factors on Justice Antonin Scalia's Decision-Making Process  
Division Representing: Social Sciences
Institution: Norwich University
Institution Location: Vermont
Home State: Minnesota
District Number: At-Large
Advisor/Mentor: Jason Jagemann
Funding Source: N/A

Research Experience:  
Faith Privett is a civilian Junior History and Political Science double-major at Norwich University. She is originally from Proctor, Minnesota. Faith is a second-year Resident Advisor and a peer-tutor in the Center for Writing. Her paper A Diplomatic Fiasco: How Iranian Students in the U.S. were Affected Throughout the Iran Hostage Crisises won the Friends of the Kreitzberg Library Award for Outstanding Student Research in Spring 2020. Faith also coauthored Ukraine and Russia Conflict: A Proposal to Bring Stability, published in the Journal of Peace and War Studies in October 2020. Through Residence Life on campus, Faith has organized numerous events for students, including a Register to Vote drive in her residence hall, as well as volunteering with the Vermont Food Bank. Outside of school, Faith previously volunteered at a nursing home in her hometown, where she visited residents, playing guitar and completing puzzles and crafts with them. She also volunteered as a day camp counselor for preschoolers. Both were discontinued due to the pandemic. Faith planned to study abroad in Berlin, Germany, in Fall 2020, but this fell through due to the pandemic. She is hoping conditions will be better for Fall 2021 to try and study abroad again. In her free time, Faith enjoys playing the guitar, reading, camping, and fishing. She is also teaching herself Norwegian and hopes to improve her language skills in numerous fields to interact with more people globally. She hopes this will help her future career in government. 

Presentation Experience: 
Academically, I have presented numerous research papers to her peers and professors at Norwich University on topics like the Iran Hostage Crisis, presidential executive orders on foreign policy, political participation, genocide, and Constitutional law. I also presented my research on judicial decision-making, which is included in this application, to my peers and professor virtually this past semester. Outside of the classroom, I participated in two policy proposals to outside organizations. In February 2019, I participated in the Schuman Challenge, hosted by the European Union Delegation to the United States. With two other Norwich students, we presented a policy proposal for solving the current crisis in Ukraine to the judges. Also, I participated in a Norwich-based experience entitled Boston Policy Week in October 2019, where twenty students met with members of five government agencies to learn about the agencies and establish a policy for a natural disaster simulation that students presented to members of FEMA in Boston on the final day.I also present to the residents on my floor and my colleagues as a Resident Advisor, showing confidence and resolve in this role. Working with young students in the camp counselor role also allowed me to practice my presentation skills for many years. While not considered presentations, I have performed on stage in front of large crowds, playing guitar and singing. Lastly, I gave numerous addresses during my senior year of high school, including the morning announcements and a graduation speech to more than five hundred people, among others.

Significance of Research:       
When a seat on the Supreme Court opens up, presidents jump on the opportunity to fill the seat with someone who will make decisions in the direction they want them to. However, how do they know how a justice will rule? Presidents and scholars can examine a justice's decision-making based on numerous models, including the legal model, which examines the influence of the law on justices' decision-making, the attitudinal model, which shows how a justice's ideology affects their decision-making, and extra-legal models, which can show the influence of public opinion on justice's decision-making, among others. I will be testing the attitudinal and public opinion models on Justice Antonin Scalia's votes while on the Supreme Court to examine how those two factors influence his decision-making. Testing his votes on Civil Rights, First Amendment, Union, and Privacy cases against his Segal-Cover score, an independent measure of justice's ideology, the Stimson Public Mood Index, which is the overall public mood in the United States per year, and custom public mood indices on each of the four issue areas, I find that Justice Scalia is most influenced by his ideology and is only influenced by public opinion in some Civil Rights and Privacy cases. By examining the influences on Justice Scalia's decision-making process, I explain how these models could be used to determine the decision-making process of future Supreme Court justices. 

Uniqueness of Research: 
Faith's research examines Justice Scalia's decision-making process by testing the attitudinal and public opinion models. The results suggest that Justice Scalia's voting trends were more liberal than the public would expect, and the attitudinal and public opinion models can help explain some of the variation in the data. These variations may be used to determine how future justice's will rule.  


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