Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy

Initiative on Legal Institutions and Democracy (ILIAD)

Initiative on Legal Institutions and Democracy (ILIAD)

"This initiative allows us to build interdisciplinary excellence in legal studies at Penn State."

The Initiative on Legal Institutions and Democracy (ILIAD) is a new multi-disciplinary research project led by Michael Nelson, professor of political science and an affiliate faculty member at Penn State Law. 

The initiative will bring together scholars from across the university to explore the rule of law, one of the concepts at the foundation of American democracy. Faculty and students from political science, law, history, and other fields will consider questions about what it means for governments to abide by institutional rules and norms — and what happens when those rules and norms are broken.

Additionally, the Initiative will study the role of the U.S. Supreme Court and other constitutional courts around the world in political systems and how they can contribute to both democratic health and democratic decline. Finally, the Initiative will sponsor an annual Judging the U.S. Supreme Court poll that assesses Americans’ attitudes toward the U.S. Supreme Court and its role in American democracy.

ILIAD’s initial activities include a brownbag lecture series this fall, a conference in the spring, and undergraduate enrichment activities in partnership with the Schreyer Honors College.