We are partisans for democracy

What does it mean to be a partisan for democracy? We don’t take sides on the political spectrum, but we do defend the rights everyone has as a democratic citizen — from voting to protesting to consuming information from a free press that serves as a check on political leaders.

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy draws from the humanities and social sciences to examine democracy from multiple angles. This cross-discipline collaboration is evident in our research, education, and outreach efforts.

We educate the next generation of democratic citizens through our Nevins Fellows program, monitor attitudes toward democracy with the Mood of the Nation poll, and host speakers and events that bring people from diverse backgrounds and points of view together to discuss the role of democracy in our society.

We make all of this happen in partnership with our centers of excellence, the Center for American Political Responsiveness and the Center for Democratic Deliberation, and many other organizations throughout the College of the Liberal Arts and the broader Penn State community.

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Democracy Works Podcast

The Federalist Society’s ideas have consequences for democracy

Is the Federalist Society bad for democracy? There’s nothing inherently wrong with groups of like-minded people organizing to share and disseminate their ideas — everyone from James Madison to Alexis de Tocqueville would agree on that. However, our guest this week argues that the group’s outsized role in the courts has undermined the notion of judicial independence, one of the hallmarks of our democratic experiment.

Amanda Hollis-Brusky is an associate professor of politics at Pomona College. She is the author of Ideas with Consequences, which examines the history of the Federalist Society and how it’s shaped the courts and their relationship to the other branches of government over the past 40 years.


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