Center Scholars

Joseph M. Bessette, Director of the Center and Member of the Board of Directors

Professor Bessette is the Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College, where he has been teaching since 1990.  His undergraduate degree is in physics from Boston College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. are in political science from the University of Chicago (where he also spent a year studying the history of science).  He is an expert on the American founding, political deliberation, the constitutional powers of the presidency, and criminal justice (especially the death penalty).  Before coming to CMC, he was Deputy Director and then Acting Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the U.S. Department of Justice (1985-1990) and Director of Planning, Training, and Management in the Cook County, IL, State’s Attorney’s Office (1981-1984).  Prior to this he taught full-time at the University of Virginia and The Catholic University of America.  He is the coauthor with Edward Feser of By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment (Ignatius Press, 2017).


Professor Bessette’s C.V.