James Wallner is a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, where he writes about the theory and practice of democratic politics. His research focuses on the separation of powers, Congress, political parties, and the federal policy process. He also serves as a Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Clemson University.

Before joining R Street, James was the Group Vice President for Research at the Heritage Foundation. He spent over a decade on Capitol Hill earlier in his career working in senior positions in both the House of Representatives and Senate. He was the Executive Director of the Senate Steering Committee during the chairmanships of Pat Toomey and Mike Lee. In that capacity, he served as the principal parliamentary advisor to the chairman and Steering’s 16-member Executive Committee. Before this, he served as Legislative Director to Jeff Sessions and Pat Toomey. He began his career on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Assistant in the House of Representatives.

James is the author of three books, The Death of Deliberation: Partisanship and Polarization in the United States Senate, (Lexington Books, 2013), On Parliamentary War: Partisan Conflict and Procedural Change in the United States Senate, (The University of Michigan Press, 2017) and The Death of Deliberation: Gridlock and the Politics of Effort in the United States Senate (Lexington Books, 2020). He has published articles on the American founding, separation of powers, Congress, parliamentary procedure, and the budget process in the Journal of Policy HistoryJournal of Legislative StudiesJournal of Law and Politics, Humanitas, and The Forum: A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics.

James received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia. He received both his master’s and doctoral degrees in politics from the Catholic University of America. He also holds a master’s in international and European politics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.


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