Tonja Jacobi

William G. and Virginia K. Karnes Research Professor of Law
Affiliated Faculty, Ford Motor Company Center for Global Citizenship


Tonja Jacobi is the William G. and Virginia K. Karnes Research Professor of Law, having joined Northwestern Law School in 2004. Jacobi earned her PhD in political science from Stanford University, where she wrote her dissertation on separation of powers constraints on the judiciary. She also holds a Masters from the University of California, Berkeley and a law degree from the Australian National University. Her areas of interest include judicial politics, game theory, American governmental institutions and constitutional law. Her current projects include an empirical assessment of the ideological nature of intellectual property cases, a survey of public choice as applied to the judiciary, and a formal model of judicial-congressional interactions in constitutional issues.

Areas of Expertise

  • Legislation
  • Judicial Politics
  • Game Theory
  • American Democracy
  • Constitutional Law

Selected Publications

  • Strategic Judicial Preference Revelation in 57 journal of law and economics (forthcoming 2014) (with Alvaro Bustos).
  • The Attrition of Rights under Parole in 87 southern california law review (forthcoming 2014) (with Song Richardson and Gregory Barr).
  • The Filibuster and Reconciliation: The Future of Majoritarian Lawmaking in the U.S. Senate in 47 uc davis law review 261 (2013) (with Jeff Vandam).
  • The Law and Economics of the Exclusionary Rule in 87 notre dame law review 585 (2012).
  • The Role of Politics and Economics in Explaining Variation in Litigation Rates in the U.S. States in 38 journal of legal studies 205-233 (2009).
  • Taking the Measure of Ideology: Empirically Measuring Supreme Court Cases in 98 georgetown law journal 1-75 (2009) (with Matthew Sag ).

View additional publications


  • BA with honors, Australian National University
  • LLB with honors, Australian National University
  • MA, University of California, Berkeley
  • PhD, Stanford University

Prior Appointments

  • Professor of Law, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Lecturer, 2003, Stanford University
  • Teaching Assistant, 2001-2002, Stanford University
  • Research Assistant, 2000, University of California, Berkeley
  • Teaching Assistant, fall 1999, University of Canberra Law School

Back to Faculty