Decision Making by the Modern Supreme Court

Decision Making by the Modern Supreme Court

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There are three general models of Supreme Court decision making: the legal model, the attitudinal model and the strategic model. But each is somewhat incomplete. This book advances an integrated model of Supreme Court decision making that incorporates variables from each of the three models. In examining the modern Supreme Court, since Brown v. Board of Education, the book argues that decisions are a function of the sincere preferences of the justices, the nature of precedent, and the development of the particular issue, as well as separation of powers and the potential constraints posed by the president and Congress. To test this model, the authors examine all full, signed civil liberties and economic cases decisions in the 1953-2000 period. Decision Making by the Modern Supreme Court argues, and the results confirm, that judicial decision making is more nuanced than the attitudinal or legal models have argued in the past.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text | 256 pages
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 3 b/w illus. 11 tables
  • 1139089005
  • 9781139089005

About Jr. Richard L. Pacelle

Richard L. Pacelle, Jr, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Georgia Southern University. His work is concerned with public law generally and the US Supreme Court and separation of powers more specifically. He is the author of three previous books: The Transformation of the Supreme Court's Agenda: From the New Deal to the Reagan Administration; The Supreme Court in American Politics: The Least Dangerous Branch of Government? (winner of a 2002 Choice Outstanding Titles Award); and Between Law and Politics: The Solicitor General and the Structuring of Race, Gender and Reproductive Rights Policy, as well as a number of journal articles and chapters in edited volumes. Brett W. Curry is Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of the Justice Studies Program at Georgia Southern University. His areas of specialization include public law and separation of powers. His research has appeared in the Journal of Politics, the Law and Society Review, Politics and Policy, Presidential Studies Quarterly, American Politics Research and Political Research Quarterly. Bryan W. Marshall is Associate Professor of Political Science at Miami University, Ohio. His areas of specialization include Congress, congressional-executive relations, separation of powers and quantitative methods. Professor Marshall's book Rules for War (2005) looks at the effects of legislative rules on policy making.
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Review quote

'This book is a landmark study of Supreme Court decision making. In testing a nuanced and integrative model of institutional decision making, the authors use statistically sophisticated methods to expand our knowledge and understanding of the modern Court. Well written and accessible, displaying a dazzling command of the literature as well as case law, the authors have produced a work worthy of placement with the classics in the field.' Sheldon Goldman, University of Massachusetts, Amherst 'Scholars of the Court have long attempted to utilize a single model to characterize all judicial decision making. Rather than falling into this trap, Pacelle, Curry, and Marshall make the case in this well-crafted book that single-cause explanations obscure how justices make decisions. The evidence they provide convinces one that none of the attitudinal, strategic, or legal models alone can account for decision making on the Court. If you want to understand the complexity and multifaceted nature of Supreme Court decision making, this is the book.' Forrest Maltzman, George Washington University 'In [this book], Professors Pacelle, Curry, and Marshall contribute a unique bird's-eye view of the modern Court since Brown. By controlling ... key factors associated with attitudes, separation of powers, precedent, and issue evolution, the authors' parsimonious models of Supreme Court decision making enable comparison of these influences across the Court's docket and across time. The picture that emerges is one of a Court driven by policy preferences but simultaneously receptive to the preferences of the elected branches and to salient legal arguments. Because the book includes careful case analysis in addition to sophisticated empirical modeling, it speaks to a broad audience in law and social science. For that reason, it will - and deserves to be - widely read by anyone interested in understanding why the Court does what it does.' Stefanie A. Lindquist, A. W. Walker Centennial Chair in Law, University of Texas, Austin 'The authors' rich knowledge of events surrounding the cases that are included in the study makes Decision Making by the Modern Supreme Court an interesting and broadly accessible book that is a welcome addition to the literature on judicial behavior.' Eileen Braman, Indiana University
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Table of contents

1. The Supreme Court: the nation's balance wheel; 2. Heuristic models of judicial decision making; 3. Building an integrated model of decision making; 4. Decision making on the modern Supreme Court: examining the influences; 5. Building a new legacy: constitutional civil liberties and civil rights; 6. Sharing the protection of minorities: statutory civil rights and individual liberties; 7. Avoiding another self-inflicted wound: constitutional economic cases; 8. Policing the boundaries: statutory economic issues; 9. Conclusion: decision making on the modern Supreme Court.
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