Katy Harriger

Katy Harriger

Office: Kirby 311
Phone: 758-5450
Email: harriger@wfu.edu

Areas of Expertise: American Constitutional Law, American Politics, Civic Engagement, Deliberative Dialog


Professor Harriger teaches courses on American politics, constitutional law, and civic engagement.  She is the co-author and editor with Louis Fisher of American Constitutional Law, 12th ed. (Carolina Academic Press 2019), editor of Separation of Powers: Commentary and Documents (Congressional Quarterly Press 2003), the author of The Special Prosecutor in American Politics. 2nd ed., revised (University Press of Kansas, 2000), and Independent Justice:  The Federal Special Prosecutor in American Politics (University Press of Kansas, 1992), as well as a number of articles about constitutional law issues in journals and law reviews. In 2007 she co-authored, with Jill J. McMillan, Speaking of Politics:  Preparing College Students for Democratic Citizenship through Deliberative Dialogue (Kettering Foundation Press) and more recently, with Jill J. McMillan, Christy M. Buchanan, & Stephanie Gusler, The Long Term Impact of Learning to Deliberate: A Follow-up Study of Democracy Fellows and a Class Cohort (Kettering Foundation Press, 2016).


B.A.  Edinboro University of Pennsylvania,1979
M.A. The University of Connecticut, 1981
Ph.D. The University of Connecticut, 1986

Academic Appointments

Professor, Wake Forest University, July 2002–Present
Associate Professor, Wake Forest University, 1991-2002
Assistant Professor, Wake Forest University, 1986-1991
Instructor, Wake Forest University, 1985-1986
Instructor, University of Connecticut, Spring 1983, 1984; Summer 1984

Administrative Appointments

Department Chair, Department of Politics and International Affairs, Wake Forest University (2007-2017; interim chair spring 2018)
Faculty Director, Wake Washington Program
Director, Teaching and Learning Center, Wake Forest University (1997-1999)




POL 113  American Government and Politics
This course considers the nature of politics, political principles, and political institutions with emphasis on their application to the United States.  The course is framed by a consideration of democratic theory and its application to U.S. politics.  The guiding question of the course is “How democratic is the American political system and why does it operate as it does?”

POL 215  Citizen and Community
This course is designed to get you to consider the role and responsibilities of a citizen in a democratic society.  It does so primarily through the examination of a policy issue (in this case, K-12 public education) and a consideration of various alternative policies for addressing this issue.  The policy issue is considered within the larger framework of democratic theory about the role of the citizen in the policy process.  In essence, the course is about applying democratic theory to a real life public issue and in a real life experience in civic engagement. Service learning course.

POL 225  American Constitutional Law:  Separation of Powers and Federalism
This course is designed to accomplish several goals, all related to a better understanding of the American constitution as it relates to the powers of government actors.  Most often our popular discussion of constitutional issues focuses on civil rights and liberties claims.   But the Framers of the Constitution believed that the greatest protection for liberty was to be found in the very way in which government was structured and that a Bill of Rights without a good government structure would do little to protect individual liberties.  We will consider this proposition by studying the role of the Supreme Court as interpreter of the Constitution and the constitutional dialogue it engages in with other political actors in the system.    We will learn too about the process of judicial decision making by learning some of the case law through three simulations of oral arguments before the Court.

POL 226  American Constitutional Law:  Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
In Federalist #84 Alexander Hamilton argued that a Bill of Rights was unnecessary, and indeed, dangerous. The original constitution, drafted in Philadelphia in 1787 did not contain such a bill.     More than 200 years later, it is difficult to imagine constitutionalism in the American contextwithout a Bill of Rights.   In this course we will consider this development in American constitutional law through the examination of U.S. Supreme Court case law interpreting the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment.  In our study of the case law we will consider the ongoing debate in American politics about the proper balance between state power as a reflection of majority will and individual liberty.  Throughout, we will be considering the particular role played by the federal judiciary in striking the balance between these competing values.  As part of that study of the judiciary we will learn more about the process of judicial decision making through the three simulations of oral arguments that we will conduct during the semester.

POL 227 Law, the Courts and Politics
The late Herbert Jacob, a renowned scholar of the courts in the field of political science, wrote that “Law is often thought of as being the opposite of politics.  Law seems dignified whereas politics seems seamy.  Law appears predictable whereas politics is typified by the unexpected.  Law seems to search for justice while politics seems to seek the expedient.”   But, he went on to say, “[s]uch perceptions, however conventional, are nevertheless misleading, for one cannot comprehend American law without understanding its roots in American politics.”  This course is based on the assumption that Jacob is right.  We will explore the American legal system, with a particular emphasis on courts and judges, in the context of the American political system, and will consider the way in which both judges and political scientists understand judicial behavior.

Senior Seminars taught:
Constitutional Change
War and the Constitution
Race and the Law

Freshmen Seminars taught:
Revisiting Brown v. Board of Education
Democracy and Deliberation

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