Christina Wells speaks freely about political and legal issues, for as Professor of Law at MU, her research falls under the auspices of constitutional law, especially freedom of information and access to government information, both of which relate to the First Amendment. Wells “cut her teeth” as a law professor, so to speak, on matters related to protest law, looking specifically at how the government uses national security rationales to limit freedom of speech, for example by keeping protestors “penned in one area…more than one would think the law would allow.” While her early work focused on protests at medical and abortion clinics, she has recently begun to examine funeral protest laws, not only because both the protests and the laws governing them are bound up in First Amendment issues but also, coincidentally, because the protests that spawned this legislative action took place in Westboro, Kansas, the state in which Wells grew up.
Generally speaking, all of Christina Wells’ research falls under the auspices of constitutional law, especially the areas of freedom of information and access to government information, both of which relate to the First Amendment.
In a recent paper, “Questioning Deference,” Wells brings principles from both psychology and law to examine how people make decisions in times of crisis. She shows, for instance, how fear and prejudice can skew the government’s decision-making, citing the prosecution of anti-war protestors during World War I, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and the legal battles against Communists during the Cold War as painful reminders.