I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama. I hold a Ph.D. and M.A. in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst and a J.D. from Albany Law School. My teaching and research focus on understanding the Supreme Court, the role of law in society, and the American Armed Forces and the civil-military gap.
I love the law. Every part of it - the decisions, the perspectives, the perception, the impact, how it works with other branches of government, and even when it contradicts itself, since it forces a better understanding than what was previously held.
I am formally trained as an attorney, and with an updated perspective on public law, its nuances, and the ways in which law can be understood and perceived, I enjoy thinking about law and its meaning to individuals and institutions. For example, discretion is built into the law, and given to officials throughout the legal process. But, what is the effect on fairness in the legal process when a police officer has the discretion to ignore, warn, cite, or fully examine a traffic violator? Alternatively, many people know that Brown v. Board of Education is famous for holding that separate but equal is no longer constitutional, but few realize that it was unanimously decided. What effect do such unanimous decisions have on the law, and why might they be used strategically by the Supreme Court? Finally, do the ideals of the military reflect the values of the society that it is sworn to protect, and is the Judiciary fostering a widening civil-military gap? That is, what do cultural, demographic, policy-preference, and institutional gaps between the military and civilian society tell us about the nature of the military and its relationship with civilian society and authority?
Recent News and Press
- Analysis of Alabama Senate Race
- Discussing the Insurrection Act
- Analysis of Federalism and Coronavirus
- Recipient of 2019 National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award
- Analysis of Impeachment Trial in Senate
- Analysis of Initiation of Impeachment Inquiry into President Trump - CBS 42; WVUA 23
- Analysis of Alabama Abortion Law - NBC 13; WVUA 23
- Recipient of 2019 Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award
- Mock Trial Ass'n wins Service and Leadership Award for Best Professional/Law Org
- Analysis of AG Barr's summary of Mueller investigation
- Mock Trial team earns bid to National Championship
- Some Service members are likely to sympathize with #TakeAKnee
- Analysis of Judge Moore (pre-primary) - Vox; Vox
- Chapter in edited volume published
What was Recent News
The best way to reach me is: aelinken(at)ua.edu
My mailing address is:
Department of Political Science
University of Alabama
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0213
You can reach me by phone at (205) 348-5980,
however email is a much better means of communication.
Our departmental fax number is (205) 348-5248.