My research focuses on public argument in the United States, particularly how authority and trust are negotiated by those in positions of moral leadership.  I am interested in religious discourse in contemporary American political debate, especially the complex interactions between and among law, public policy,  and religious communities in the United States. Other research interests include bioethics, bureaucratic language, and public health policy.

My current book project, titled Figures of Authority: The American Catholic Bishops’ Politics after Scandal, investigates how the sexual abuse scandals have affected the political  statements issued by the American Catholic hierarchy in the ten-year period from 2002 when scandals emerged until 2012 presidential election.