Paul Gardner

Paul Gardner

Assistant Professor


PhD (Princeton University)

Political Studies

Comparative Politics, Canadian Politics

Assistant Professor

Mackintosh-Corry Hall, C428

People Directory Affiliation Category

Research Interests

American institutions and separation of powers, public law, judicial politics, legal mobilization, constitutional law (including civil rights and liberties), race and law, and legal institutions

I would be interested in supervising graduate students in the area of law and courts, especially judicial behavior and legal mobilization in the U.S. and Canadian contexts. I may also supervise students working on American institutions, broadly construed.


I am an Assistant Professor of Political Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. I was formerly a Visiting Researcher at the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace at the Queen's University Faculty of Law and a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science in the Maxwell School at Syracuse University. I received my Ph.D. from the Department of Politics at Princeton University.

My research and teaching interests are broadly in American law and politics. My work sits at the intersection of a number of sub-disciplines of political science, including American institutions, judicial politics, American political development, law and society, and political behavior. My primary research agenda aims to understand the effectiveness of “private enforcement statutes,” federal laws in which the primary mechanism of enforcement is private litigation, rather than direct bureaucratic action. I argue that a number of actors—presidents, bureaucratic agencies, judges, and interest groups—all have a hand in determining whether individuals will make use of private rights of action by filing lawsuits.

In other research, I examine how the public and governmental actors respond to Supreme Court decisions, as well as public preferences about judicial institutions and legal outcomes.


For detailed information about political studies courses and instructors, please refer to the Undergraduate and Graduate pages. 

Service (2023/2024)

  • Colloquium Committee (Chair)
  • Departmental Committee
  • Undergraduate Committee

Selected Publications

Gardner, Paul J., and Sharece Thrower. "Presidential Constraints on Supreme Court Decision-Making." The Journal of Politics 85.1 (2023): 139-152.

Gardner, Paul. 2021. "The Law: The Influence of the President in the Adoption and Enforcement of Private Rights of Action." Presidential Studies Quarterly 51: 187-213. 

Gardner, Paul. 2018. “Motivating Litigants to Enforce Public Goods: Evidence from Employment, Housing, and Voting Discrimination Policy.” In The Rights Revolution Revisited: Institutional Perspectives on the Private Enforcement of Civil Rights in the US, New York: Cambridge University Press, 70–99.

Gardner, Paul. 2016. “Private Enforcement of Constitutional Guarantees in the Ku Klux Act of 1871.” Constitutional Studies 1(2): 81–95.

Research Highlight with Paul Gardner

Assistant Professor Paul Gardner discusses his current research.