Tom Burke is Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College. In 2016 he is a visiting professor in Legal Studies at the University of California-Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard and a research fellow at the Brookings Institution and with the Robert Wood Johnson Scholars in Health Policy Program.

Burke's research focuses on the role of rights and litigation in public policy, and the ways in which organizations respond to rights claims. His book with co-author Jeb Barnes, How Policy Shapes Politics (Oxford University Press, 2015), examines the political consequences of the judicialization of public policy. Recent publications include "Kagan the Explorer" (Judicature, 2013), "From the Courthouse to the Chalkboard" (Tulsa Law Review, 2013), "Making Way: Legal Mobilization, Organizational Response and Wheelchair Access (Law and Society Review, 2012) and "Is There an Empirical Literature on Rights?" (Studies in Law, Politics and Society, 2009).

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Burke has written about the Americans with Disabilities Act, disability politics in the European Union, American campaign finance law, and the Supreme Court's First Amendment jurisprudence. He is the co-author, with Lief Carter, of the 9th edition of Reason in Law (University of Chicago Press, 2016), and is the author of Lawyers, Lawsuits and Legal Rights: The Struggle Over Litigation in American Society(University of California Press, 2002).