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Alex Denison


University of Kentucky, PhD, Political Science (expected 2021)
Western Illinois University, MA, Political Science (2014)
University of Missouri, BJ, Broadcast Journalism (2012)


Alex Denison is a PhD candidate interested in the study of judicial politics, law, political behavior, and American institutions. He is previously a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia teaching constitutional law and American government.

A journalist by training, Alex worked in media for several years as a television reporter and anchor, news editor, radio host and columnist. Much of his research now focuses predominantly on the media's role in capturing Supreme Court activities and the subsequent effects these portrayals have on public perceptions of the Court. His dissertation work examines the relationship between the judiciary, the news media, and the general public, analyzing how judicial behavior and professional biases affect news coverage, and consequently, public attitudes toward the institution. Utilizing unique datasets of news articles covering decisions and confirmation hearings, Alex identifies trends in coverage that question both the media's ability to provide responsible coverage of the institution that bolsters democratic ideals, as well as ways in which justices and political actors can affect coverage.

Recent research projects include co-authored studies (with UK professors Dr. Justin Wedeking and Dr. Michael Zilis) into how Supreme Court justices' negative rhetoric in opinion content shapes news coverage of decisions, and whether news content adequately emphasizes the content of opinions. Alex's current ongoing projects include an investigation into how judicial behavior and news bias contribute to politicized portrayals of the Supreme Court, the impact of positive symbolism on public opinion, and how race affects disparate perceptions of political freedom in the U.S. His broader research interests include the impact of political rhetoric, political psychology, and the implementation of judicial policies. His research can be found or is forthcoming in Social Science Quarterly, Michigan State University Law Review, and Elon Law Review. 

Alex has previously taught courses at the University of Kentucky in the areas of judicial politics, American government and politics in film. 

Courses Offered

University of Kentucky
Intro to American Politics
Law and Courts
Politics and Film

University of Georgia
Intro to American Politics
Constituional Law I: Institutional Powers
Constitutional Law II: Rights and Liberties

Selected Publications:


Denison, Alexander, Justin Wedeking, and Michael Zilis. Forthcoming. "Negative Media Coverage of the Supreme Court: The Interactive Role of Opinion Language, Coaliton Size and Ideological Signals." Social Science Quarterly. 

Wedeking, Justin and Alexander Denison. 2017. "Using Text as Data to Measure Latent Legal Constructs: A Dictionary-Based Approach." Michigan State Law Review. 

Zilis, Michael, Alexander Denison, and Justin Wedeking. 2017. “Hitting the Bullseye in Supreme Court Coverage: News Quality in the Court’s 2014 Term.” Elon Law Review IX(2):489-523.


Wedeking, Justin and Alexander Denison. 2018. "The Confirmation Hearing Legacy of Antonin Scalia." The Conservative Revolution of Antonin Scalia. Eds. David Schultz and Howard Schweber. 

Denison, Alexander and Justin Wedeking. 2018. "Elena Kagan." Encyclopedia of Civil Rights and Liberties. Eds. John Scheb and Karen Stooksbury.