Spitzer

Robert J. Spitzer

Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of Political Science, State University of New York at Cortland
Areas of Expertise:
  • Law & Courts
  • Government Agencies
  • Cities & Regions
  • Criminal Justice

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About Robert

Spitzer’s chief areas of expertise include gun policy (including politics, history, law, and criminological consequences of guns) and the American presidency (especially president’s veto power and other constitutional powers, presidential behavior, electoral, political, and policy dimensions of the office, and inter-branch relations). He has served as an administrative hearing officer for the County Boards of Health in Cortland, Tompkins, and Chenango Counties (New York State) and for the Zoning Board of Appeals (Homer, NY). Spitzer has testified before U.S. Congress on five occasions and before New York State Legislative committees. He has also co-authored amicus curiae briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Seventh and Ninth Circuits of the U.S. Courts of Appeal.

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In the News

"The Gun-Safety Issue Is Actually Helping Democrats," Robert J. Spitzer, The New York Times, November 12, 2018.
"What's behind NRA TV's Grotesque Take on 'Thomas & Friends'," Robert J. Spitzer, CNN, September 14, 2018.
"The NRA's Journey from Marksmanship to Political Brinkmanship," Robert J. Spitzer, The Conversation, February 23, 2018.
"Laws We Used to Have on the Books Could Have Prevented the Florida School Shooting," Robert J. Spitzer, The Washington Post, February 15, 2018.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted in Bill Hutchinson, "Trump's Election Partly Responsible for Legendary Gunmaker's Demise: Experts" ABC News, February 13, 2018.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted in Dominic Rushe, "'The Trump Slump': Remington Files for Bankruptcy as Gun Sales Tumble" The Guardian, February 13, 2018.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted in Anthony Brooks, "Concealed Carry Everywhere: Bill in Congress Could Loosen Gun Control" WBUR, December 11, 2017.
"An American Standoff on Guns," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Daily News, October 8, 2017.
"America Used to Be Good at Gun Control. What Happened?," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Times, October 3, 2017.
"Charlottesville, Militias, and the Second Amendment," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Daily News, August 16, 2017.
"The Link between Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings, Explained by a Gun Policy Expert," Robert J. Spitzer, Interview with Hope Reese, Vox, July 21, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on gun bills after the congressional baseball practice shooting, "From Bad to Worse on Gun Bills" Boston Globe, July 16, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on the NRA initiative of arming women in Melissa Jeltsen, "The NRA Wants To Solve Domestic Violence By Arming Victims. It Probably Won’t Work." Huffington Post, July 15, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on implication of Scalise shooting on gun laws in Emily Cochrane, "After Scalise Shooting, a Twist: Lawmakers Want to Loosen Gun Laws" New York Times, July 9, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on political violence in Joshua Holland, "Why Does the Far Right Hold a Near-Monopoly on Political Violence?" The Nation, June 23, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on the incentive to buy guns in Editorial Board, "Even as President, Donald Trump Panders to the N.R.A." New York Times, April 29, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on concealed carry laws in Joseph Stepansky, "What is National Concealed Carry Reciprocity?" Al Jazeera America, April 6, 2017.
Robert J. Spitzer quoted on firearms industry under Trump in Lisa Marie Pane, "Once-Booming Gun Industry Now Recalibrating under Trump" Associated Press, April 1, 2017.
Guest to discuss silencers on CNN Money, Robert J. Spitzer, January 24, 2017.
"The NRA Wants to Suppress One of Guns' Most Important Safety Features," Robert J. Spitzer, Washington Post, January 23, 2017.
Guest to discuss gun reform on CCTV America, Robert J. Spitzer, January 13, 2016.
"Nutty Gun Rhetoric Meets Reality," Robert J. Spitzer, U.S. News, January 7, 2016.
Guest to discuss executive actions about gun control on ABC Austrailia, Robert J. Spitzer, January 6, 2016.
Guest to discuss executive actions concerning gun control on CNN, Robert J. Spitzer, January 2, 2016.
"President Obama's Recent Vetoes were Unconstitutional. Congress Should Sue Him. ," Robert J. Spitzer, The Washington Post, December 30, 2015.
"Arming Everyone is Not the Answer: 'Good Guys with Guns' Rarely Help," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Daily News, December 6, 2015.
Guest to discuss gun reform on CNN, Robert J. Spitzer, December 5, 2015.
"Why the Oregon Shooting Likely Won't Change Anything," Robert J. Spitzer, U.S. News, October 2, 2015.
"Think the Charleston Shooting Will Lead to New Gun Control Laws? It Won’t.," Robert J. Spitzer, The Washington Post, June 18, 2015.
"Why are Assault Weapon Sales Jumping? Because They're Fun to Shoot," Robert J. Spitzer, Los Angeles Times, June 12, 2015.
"Gun Laws are as Old as Gun Ownership," Robert J. Spitzer, American Constitution Society Blog, May 18, 2015.
"Stand Your Ground Makes No Sense," Robert J. Spitzer, New York Times, May 4, 2015.
"Leading by Veto," Robert J. Spitzer, Los Angeles Times, February 3, 2015.
Regular contributionsRobert J. Spitzer to Huffington Post.

Publications

The Politics of Gun Control (Paradigm Publishers, 2015).
Applies policy theory to the key elements of the gun debate, including analysis of the Second Amendment, cultural-historical factors, interest group behavior, criminological consequences, legislative and executive politics.
Guns across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights (Oxford University Press, 2015).
Argues that our understanding of the gun issue as it has evolved in the U.S. is upside down, looking at gun law history, the Second Amendment, stand your ground laws, and New York State gun laws.
Saving the Constitution from Lawyers: How Legal Training and Law Reviews Distort Constitutional Meaning (Cambridge University Press, 2008).
Offers a sweeping indictment of the legal community when it enters into the realm of constitutional interpretation.
The Presidency and the Constitution: Cases and Controversies (with Michael A. Genovese) (Palgrave/Macmillan, 2005).
Analyzes and examines the courts’ view of presidential power.
President and Congress: Executive Hegemony at the Crossroads of American Government (McGraw-Hill; and Temple University Press, 1993).
Provides an analytical and critical treatment of presidential-congressional relations.
The Presidential Veto: Touchstone of the American Presidency (SUNY Press, 1988).
Discusses the constitutional antecedents and modern applications of the veto power, including contemporary controversies.