This article is about the political scientist. For other people with the same name, see Robert Spitzer (disambiguation).
Robert James Spitzer (born September 12, 1953) is an American political scientist, commentator, and author. Spitzer is the author of numerous books, articles, essays, papers, and op-eds on many topics related to American politics. His areas of specialty include the American presidency and gun politics.
Spitzer is a distinguished service professor and chair of the political science department at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland. He has taught at Cortland since 1979, and as a visiting professor at Cornell University since 1988. At Cortland, he has served as chair of the Political Science Department from 1983–1989, 2005–2006, and from 2008 to the present. He served as a member of the New York State Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution from 1986–1990.
In 1983 Spitzer's first book, The Presidency and Public Policy, challenged the model for presidential success espoused by Richard E. Neustadt with a policy approach based on Theodore J. Lowi's "arenas of power." Spitzer argued that the type of policy proposed by a president, not personal political skill, shaped the president's success in Congress. Michael A. Genovese felt "a more explicit application" to Lyndon Johnson's and Ronald Reagan's early years would have improved Spitzer's study, but otherwise gave it a collegial thumbs-up.
Prior to 1988's The Presidential Veto, there had been no analytical, book-length account of the subject in almost 100 years. Spitzer's work examines its history and concludes that the presidential veto has lost the revisionary power as the Founder's understood it at the Constitutional Convention. Melvin A. Kulbicki called the book an excellent text and a "well-written blend of theory and practical politics."
Spitzer served as president of the Presidency Research Group of the American Political Science Association from 2001-2003.
Since the 1980s, Spitzer has written books, spoken at public gatherings, written articles for newspapers, and appeared on numerous radio and television shows about gun control. His written work on the subject has appeared in the Washington Post and the New York Daily News. He has appeared on NPR's Fresh Air With Terry Gross and on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann.
After former president Jimmy Carter wrote an op-ed about the 1994 assault weapons ban, the New York Times asked its readers, "Where do you stand on assault weapons?" Spitzer replied that one approach to "breaking the political deadlock over gun control" would be to treat it like international arms relations and "renounce disarmament but embrace arms control, especially for weapons of military origin."
Prior to and since the United States Supreme Court rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), Spitzer also argues that history and prior law do not support the individualist interpretation of the Second Amendment reflected in these two recent court rulings. Since the cases were handed down, he wrote: "The Heller and McDonald rulings established, as a matter of law, an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment. But while judges can change the law, they cannot change history, and the historical record largely contradicts the bases for these two recent rulings."
Spitzer is the author of five books on gun control: The Politics of Gun Control,The Right to Bear Arms,Gun Control: A Documentary and Reference Guide, coauthor, along with Glenn H. Utter, of Encyclopedia of Gun Control and Gun Rights and Guns across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights
In addition to the American presidency and gun politics, Spitzer has researched and written on many topics related to American politics and public policy, including the behavior of American institutions, national elections, the mass media, the Constitution, and New York State politics and policy. His monographThe Right to Life Movement and Third Party Politics was a close examination of the New York-based Right to Life political party. His book Saving the Constitution from Lawyers: How Legal Education and Law Reviews Distort Constitutional Meaning, argues that legal training serves the practice of law well, but, according to the Harvard Law Review, "presents a sharp critique of the 'wayward constitutional theorizing' published in law journals." Pulitizer Prize winning historian Jack Rakove said of this book, "Nowhere is the gap between pretension and performance [in legal education] more evident than in the realm of constitutional law, and Robert Spitzer explains why." Since 1997, Spitzer has been series editor for the book series on American Constitutionalism published by SUNY Press.
Personal life and education
Spitzer was born in Utica, New York in 1953. He received his A.B. degree, summa cum laude, from SUNY Fredonia in 1975, his master's degree from Cornell University in 1978, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1980.
- 1983 The Presidency and Public Policy
- 1987 The Right to Life Movement and Third Party Politics
- 1988 The Presidential Veto
- 1990 The Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution
- 1993 President and Congress
- 1993 Media and Public Policy
- 1995 The Politics of Gun Control (6th edition, 2015)
- 2000 Politics and Constitutionalism
- 2001 The Right to Bear Arms
- 2002 Essentials of American Politics
- 2005 The Presidency and the Constitution
- 2008 Saving the Constitution from Lawyers
- 2009 Gun Control: A Documentary and Reference Guide
- 2011 Encyclopedia of Gun Control and Gun Rights (with Glenn Utter)
- 2017 We the People: Essentials Edition (11th ed., co-author)
- 2015 Guns across America: Reconciling Gun Rules and Rights
- ^"News Detail:SUNY Cortland" (Press release). State University of New York College at Cortland. October 24, 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^ abSpitzer, Robert J. (January 7, 2014). "New York's gun laws aren't so tough, historically speaking (Commentary)". Post-Standard. Syracuse, New York: Syracuse Media Group. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
- ^ ab"Robert J. Spitzer: SUNY Cortland". cortland.edu. State University College of New York at Cortland. June 21, 2005. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^"Curriculum Vitae:Robert J. Spitzer". docs.google.com. March 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Genovese, Michael A. (1985). "The Presidency and Public Policy: The Four Arenas of Presidential Power, by R.J. Spitzer". digitalcommons.lmu.edu (Review). Loyola Marymount University. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Kulbicki, Melvin A. (1988). "The Presidential Veto, by R.J. Spitzer". library.villanova.edu (Review). Villanova University. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^"PRG Leadership History". cstl-cla.semo.edu/Renka/. Russell D. Renka. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- ^Spitzer, Robert; Kucinich, Jackie; McCarthy, Carolyn; Menino, Thomas; Kois, Dan (January 7, 2013). "An Update On Efforts To Prevent Gun Violence". The Diane Rehm Show (interview transcript). Interview with Diane Rehm. Washington D.C.: WAMU.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (February 27, 2011). "Campuses Just Say 'No' to Guns" (Blog). The Huffington Post.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (December 21, 2012). "Five myths about gun control". Washington Post (Opinion). washingtonpost.com. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (January 17, 2013). "The President's need for speed". New York Daily News (Opinion). nydailynews.com. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^"After Tucson Shootings, NRA Again Shows Its Strength" (Companion story to interview). NPR. January 27, 2011. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (January 12, 2011). "Countdown: GOP leadership rejects gun-control legislation". Countdown with Keith Olbermann (Interview: Video). Interview with Keith Olbermann. MSNBC. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Carter, Jimmy (April 26, 2009). "What Happened to the Ban on Assault Weapons?". New York Times (Opinion). nytimes.com. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (May 1, 2009). "Re 'What Happened to the Ban on Assault Weapons?'". New York Times (Opinion). nytimes.com. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (October 11, 2013) . "Lost and Found: Researching the Second Amendment"(PDF). Chicago-Kent Law Review. Scholarly Commons. 76 (1). Retrieved January 10, 2014.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (February 10, 2013). "Righting the Gun Debate". lareviewofbooks.org (Essay). LA Review of Books. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (November 1, 2014). The Politics of Gun Control (6th ed.). Paradigm. Retrieved May 25, 2015.
- ^Hoffman, Daniel (2002). "The Right to Bear Arms, by Robert J. Spitzer". gvpt.umd.edu/lpbr/ (Review). Department of Government & Politics, University of Maryland. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Spitzer, Robert J. (March 20, 2009). Gun Control: A Documentary and Reference Guide. Greenwood. ISBN 978-0313345661.
- ^Baus, Chad D. (February 24, 2012). "BOOK REVIEW: Encyclopedia of Gun Control & Gun Rights, 2nd edition". buckeyefirearms.org. Buckeye Firearms Association. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^ abhttps://global.oup.com/academic/product/guns-across-america-9780190228583?cc=us&lang=en&
- ^"The Right to Life Movement and Third Party Politics, by Robert J. Spitzer". journals.cambridge.org (Review). Cambridge University Press. 1988. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Schmidt, Patrick (2008). "Saving the Constitution from Lawyers: How Legal Education and Law Reviews Distort Constitutional Meaning, by Robert J. Spitzer". gvpt.umd.edu/lpbr/reviews/ (Review). Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^"Saving the Constitution from Lawyers: How Legal Education and Law Reviews Distort Constitutional Meaning, by Robert J. Spitzer"(PDF). Harvard Law Review (Review). 2008. Archived from the original(PDF) on January 18, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Rakove, Jack (2008). "Saving the Constitution from Lawyers: How Legal Education and Law Reviews Distort Constitutional Meaning, by Robert J. Spitzer". amazon.com (Review). Retrieved January 18, 2014.
- ^Kay, Ernest (1987). International Who's Who in Education, Volume 3. International Biographical Centre.
- ^"Faculty/Staff Detail: Robert Spitzer". cortland.edu. Retrieved January 13, 2014.
Placement Testing Information
As part of your START appointment (Student Transition Advisement, Registration and Testing), you are required to take several placement tests before registering for your first classes unless you transfer in college-level credit that waives you from one or more tests. You should take these tests very seriously and do your best; the scores will be used to help decide which courses you may take in your first semester at Tompkins Cortland. It is extremely important that you and your academic advisor have the most accurate assessment possible of your writing, math, and reading skills when you select your courses. Based on the overall assessment, including results of placement tests, some students will be required to complete pre-college courses before moving on to program courses that require college-level writing, reading and mathematics skills. Placement testing is just one part of the assessment process. To give the admissions staff and your academic advisor the most complete information possible, make sure the Admissions Office has received official copies of your transcripts from any colleges you have attended, whether or not credit was earned. Of course, we also need your high school transcript or GED as part of the admissions process. And, don’t forget to send us score reports if you took any AP exams while in high school.NOTE: Please bring a picture ID to the test.
Students are advised to be well-rested and have a good breakfast before coming to the START appointment, since it is designed as a day-long process.
IF YOU WILL NOT BE A HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE AND DO NOT HAVE YOUR GED, you need to speak to the Admissions Office about the federal admissions regulations regarding non-graduates. Call admissions at 607-844-6580 for more information.
IF YOU ARE A STUDENT WITH A DISABILITY, contact Carolyn Boone in the Baker Center for Learning at 607-844-8222 ext. 4283 to arrange accommodations for your placement testing, and to discuss any other needs. Test accommodations must be arranged before your appointment date. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to, screen magnification, taped administration, writing accommodations, or use of a calculator.
IF ENGLISH IS NOT YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE, you will take tests different than those described here for the English and reading sections. Call the Enrollment Services Center at 607-844-6580 to find out about the tests you will need to take.
What you need to know about the placement tests:
You will be taking a test called ACCUPLACER on a computer. Only basic keyboard and/or mouse skills are necessary. The test will begin with a tutorial explaining how to respond to each question type. Most questions are multiple-choice.
The multiple-choice portions of the tests are not timed; you may work at your own pace. The essay has a time limit of one hour. Depending on how many tests you are required to take, you can expect to spend 2 to 3 hours on the tests. The main tests are described below.
Reading Comprehension Test (20 questions) - This test assesses your ability to understand different types of college-level reading materials. You will be given a number of short reading passages followed by questions. The questions will relate to your comprehension of what you have read and your ability to reason from the information in the passage. Your score will help determine whether you need to take a pre-college reading course (RDNG099), a college-level reading and study skills course (RDNG116), or no reading course. The reading test score will also help determine your placement in your initial English course (ENGL099, 100 or 101).
Sentences Skills Test (20 questions) - This test assesses your understanding of sentence structure – how sentences are put together and what makes a sentence complete and clear. Your score will help determine whether you need to take a pre-college writing course (ENGL099) or are ready for Academic Writing I (ENGL100) or Academic Writing II (ENGL101).
WritePlacer Test (essay) – This test will allow you to demonstrate your writing skills. Grammar and spelling will count, along with punctuation, focus, and organization. This part of the test will have a time limit of one hour. You will type your essay on the computer. The results of this test will be used in the decision about which writing course you will take in the first semester (ENGL099, 100 or 101).
Arithmetic Test (17 questions) - This test assesses your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. You may not use a calculator on the test. Problems will involve use of fractions, decimals, and percentages. Your score will help determine whether you need to take a pre-college numerical skills course (MATH090) before taking other math courses required in your program.
Elementary Algebra (12 questions) – This test assesses your ability to perform algebraic operations. Problems will involve use of integers, rational numbers, monomials and polynomials, factoring, and other algebraic expressions. Your score will help determine whether you need to take a pre-college algebra course (MATH095) before taking other math courses required in your program.
College-Level Math (20 questions) - This test assesses your proficiency in intermediate algebra through precalculus. Your score will help determine whether you will be placed in Intermediate Algebra (MATH100) or a higher-level math course as required by your program.
Where you can find materials to help prepare for the placement test:
There are numerous websites that contain practice tests and information to help you “brush up” on your skills. If you do not have a computer at home, you can access these materials at your local public library or in the computer labs at Tompkins Cortland.
Use this site to obtain basic descriptions and sample questions for all the ACCUPLACER tests.
Use this site to search for additional practice questions and skills instruction. Type in “Accuplacer practice” or “Accuplacer instruction.”
General Review Books
You can also find review/preparation books and software in bookstores and libraries. There are no books available specifically for ACCUPLACER tests; however, materials directed at the GED, ACT, or “basic skills” may be helpful.