Dr. Rachel Schutte

Assistant Professor of Political Science
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Rachel Schutte’s research focuses on decision making in federal appellate courts, with particular emphasis on the collegial and institutional features that constrain and influence the behavior of Supreme Court justices. She is especially interested in the development of legal rules through the Supreme Court's collegial opinion writing process. Dr. Schutte’s work has been published in journals including Political Research Quarterly, Party Politics and Political Science Quarterly.

She regularly teaches classes on American politics and research methods, focusing on political institutions and behavior. Her courses focus on the social scientific study of political behavior among political elites (e.g., Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and the president) and among the mass public (e.g., public opinion and voting behavior).

Dr. Schutte joined the Hope College faculty in 2018. She was previously an assistant professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York (2014–2016) and Michigan State University (2016–2018).

Areas of expertise

  • American politics and political institutions
  • Research methods
  • Judicial decision-making
  • Constitutional law


  • Ph.D., political science, Michigan State University, 2015
  • M.A., political science, Michigan State University, 2011
  • B.A., political science, English, Hope College, 2006

Honors, Grants and awards

  • Nyenhuis Student-Faculty Collaborative Summer Research Grant with A.K. Peterson, 2019
  • Hunter College Undergraduate Research Initiative Fellowship, 2016
  • Hunter College Faculty Innovations in Teaching with Technology Grant, 2015
  • Excellence in Teaching Citation, Michigan State University, 2014
  • Best Paper Award, Michigan State University, 2014
  • “Shaping the Content of Majority Opinions on the U.S. Supreme Court,” National Science Foundation doctoral dissertation research grant (SES-1228458), 2012–2013

Selected publications

  • “Things Unspoken: Forbidden Discourse and Credible Signals in the Shadow of Power,” with B. Yoder and K. Taylor Gaubatz, Political Science Quarterly, forthcoming
  • “Judicial Discretion and U.S. Supreme Court Agenda Setting,” with E. Lane, J. Schoenherr, R. Black, in Judicial Politics Empirical Reader, forthcoming
  • “Elite-Level Issue Dynamics: Assessing Perspectives on Party Issue Change,” with D. Lee, Party Politics, 2015
  • “Trying to Get What You Want: Heresthetical Maneuvering and U.S. Supreme Court Decision Making,” with R. Black and T. Johnson, Political Research Quarterly, 2013

Outside the college

When she’s not teaching or working on her research, you can probably find Dr. Schutte in the woods or along the lakeshore with her exuberant toddler daughter and rambunctious puppy. She loves to travel, seeking hiking adventures in the summer and skiing escapades in the winter. It’s rare to find her without a book nearby, and she’ll never turn down a board game or a physical challenge.

Profile photo of Dr. Rachel Schutte
Dr. Rachel Schutte

Phone Number616.395.6897

Lubbers Hall Room 208 126 East 10th Street Holland, MI 49423
A map showing the location for Dr. Rachel Schutte Lubbers Hall Room 208 126 East 10th Street Holland MI 49423