Kenneth Manning


Kenneth Manning, PhD

Professor / Chairperson

Political Science





Liberal Arts 319


University of HoustonPhD





An examination of law, courts, lawyers and judges as depicted in film. Political and legal attitudes amongst the public are often shaped and influenced by movies. This course will review and discuss films which convey important messages and ideas about law, justice, and the U.S. legal system.

Course centers on the development of the constitutional framework of American government with emphasis placed on reading and analysis of U.S. Supreme Court cases. Topics covered may include judicial review, separation of powers, federalism government regulatory authority, and the rights of criminal defendants.

Professor Manning's research focuses upon American politics broadly, with a particular emphasis upon judicial politics. He is co-author of the books Judicial Process in AmericaThe Federal Courts, and The State Courts (Sage/CQ Press).  His recent coauthored article/chapter entitled "To Publish or Not Publish: Exploring Federal District Judges' Published Decisions" appeared in Open Judicial Politics, 2nd ed. (Oregon State University, 2021).  Manning has authored or co-authored numerous articles on judicial politics, including "Taking It to the Next Level: The Elevation of District Court Judges (American Journal of Political Science), "Does Age Matter? Judicial Decision Making in Age Discrimination Cases" (Social Science Quarterly), "International Conflicts and Decision Making on the Federal Distrct Courts" (Justice System Journal), "The Gender Influence on U.S. District Court Decisions: Updating the Traditional Judge Attribute Model" (Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy), "Judicial Attributes and Sentencing-Deviation Cases" (Justice System Journal), and The Obama Judges: A Midterm Assessment  (Judicature).  He presented an APSA 2005 paper Ideology of John Roberts, a review of the ideology of Chief Justice John Roberts.  Along with Robert A. Carp, Manning is co-investigator of a database on federal district court decsion-making.