Areas of Study
Jurisprudence, Law and Justice Studies
Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 119

Associate Professor of Government Gbemende Johnson’s research interests are American institutions, judicial politics, and executive branch politics. Johnson also studies race and politics and political theory.

Her current research explores transparency litigation in federal courts and the way in which politicization affects the rulemaking process. Her work has appeared in outlets such as the American Journal of Political Science, Vanderbilt Law Review, and Law and Society Review

Johnson is currently working on research supported by the National Science Foundation that examines Freedom of Information Act Litigation in federal courts.  Johnson was also awarded a Pracademic Fellowship in 2018 from the American Political Science Association. Previously, she received a grant from Rutgers’ University Center on the American Governor to examine state supreme court deference to executive power. Johnson received her doctorate in political science from Vanderbilt University in 2012. 


Recent Courses Taught

Government Failure? The American Administrative State
The American Presidency
American Political Process
Public Policy Problems: The American Administrative State
Courts and Judicial Process
Introduction to American Government and Politics
Politics of Equality

Research Interests

American politics, judicial politics, executive branch politics, political theory


  • APSA Pracademic Fellowship, 2018 
  • APSA Centennial Center Teaching Workshop Travel Grant, 2018 
  • Artinian Travel Award, 2015
  • Rutgers University Center on the American Governor: Public, Policy, Power, and Leadership Grant, 2012
  • Vanderbilt University Social Science Dissertation Fellowship, 2010
  • Prestage-Cook Travel Award, 2009
  • Congressional Black Caucus Scholarship Award, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09
  • Vanderbilt University Provost Minority Fellowship for five years of doctoral study, 2006-12

Selected Publications

  • “Race, Crime, and Emotions” (with Camille Burge), Research & Politics 5(3):1-9 2053168018795334. (2018)
  • “Perceptions of Gender Bias in Public Attitudes towards the Decisions of Female Judges” (with Michael P. Fix). Vanderbilt Law Review, 70(6):1845-1886. (2017)
  • “Legislative “Allies” and Judicial Oversight of Executive Power.” Justice System Journal, 38 (2):116-134. (2017)
  • “Executive Power and Judicial Deference: Judicial Decision-Making on Executive Power Challenges in the American States” Political Research Quarterly, 68(1):128-141. (2015)
  • “Judicial Deference and Executive Control over Administrative Agencies,” State Politics & Policy Quarterly, 14(2):142-164. (2014)
  • “The House as a Stepping Stone to the Senate: Why do so few African-American House Members Run?” (with Bruce Oppenheimer and Jennifer Selin). American Journal of Political Science, 56(2):387-399. (2012)     
Chapters in Edited Volumes
  •  “Gubernatorial Institutional Authority and Conflict: Executive-Judicial Relations in the United States,” in The American Governor: Power, Constraint, and Leadership in the States, ed. David Redlawsk. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. (2015)

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
M.A., Vanderbilt University
B.A., Georgia State University

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