Politics and Law

"The general principles of any study you may learn by books at home;
 but the detail, the color, the tone, the air, the life which makes it live in us,
you must catch all these from those in whom it already lives."

 -John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, 1854

We are glad you have an interest in exploring what the Department of Politics and Law at Rhodes has to offer. Our program is very popular, which is the result of engaging courses offered by an exceptionally strong teaching faculty. Our courses focus on American politics, political and moral thought, and law. We run our own internship program which places students in offices and organizations related to public affairs, as well as the local offices of Tennessee′s two senators and Memphis′s representative.

The department can help open doors to careers and higher educational opportunities for students who possess the motivation and drive. We have sent our students to the top law and graduate schools, but many of our majors head straight to Washington, D.C., and others find rewarding employment in a wide variety of other careers.

We invite and encourage you to browse through the pages of our site. You′ll find an overview of the crucial and intriguing questions that students will tackle in each course, information about the Political Science Major, get examples of what some of our Political Science graduates are doing today, and so much more.

Please feel free to contact any of us to learn more about our program and the college.

~ Faculty and Staff of the Department of Politics and Law

A man receives an award from a woman
The photo above, signed by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, shows Mike Cody receiving an award as Chair of the Tennessee Chapter of the United States Supreme Court Historical Society. Justice Ginsburg presented the award when the chapter was honored by the U.S. Supreme Court as the best chapter in the nation. In his career, Cody has argued four cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mike Cody '58 has been an activist since college, when he organized the Intercity College Student Council to bring Memphis-area college students of all races together to fight segregation. Cody has been a member of the Memphis law firm Burch, Porter & Johnson since 1961, and was on Dr. Martin Luther King’s legal team at the time of Dr. King’s assassination. In addition to a distinguished legal career filled with awards, accolades, and service, Cody has served as the U.S. Attorney for West Tennessee (1977-1981), Attorney General for the State of Tennessee (1984–1988), and on the Memphis City Council (1975-1977).

Cody maintains strong ties with Rhodes, serving on task forces and panels and, for the last several years, teaching as an adjunct professor in the Department of Politics and Law. The Mike Cody Award for Excellence in Political Science, awarded each year to a graduating senior, was named in his honor. A lifelong runner, Cody is in the Rhodes Athletic Hall of Fame, and the annual Mike Cody 4 Mile Classic raises funds for the college's track programs.