Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Does Legal Doctrine Matter? Unpacking Law and Policy Preferences on the U.S. Supreme Court

  • MICHAEL A. BAILEY (a1) and FORREST MALTZMAN (a2)
Abstract

Judicial scholars often struggle to disentangle the effects of law and policy preferences on U.S. Supreme Court decision making. We employ a new approach to measuring the effect—if any—of the law on justices' decisions. We use positions taken on Supreme Court cases by members of Congress and presidents to identify policy components of voting. Doing so enables us to isolate the effects of three legal doctrines: adherence to precedent, judicial restraint, and a strict interpretation of the First Amendment's protection of speech clause. We find considerable evidence that legal factors play an important role in Supreme Court decision making. We also find that the effect of legal factors varies across justices.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Michael A. Bailey is the Colonel William J. Walsh Associate Professor in the Department of Government and the Public Policy Institute at Georgetown University, Washington, DC 20057. E-mail: baileyma@georgetown.edu.
Forrest Maltzman is Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052. E-mail: forrest@gwu.edu.
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Michael A Bailey . 2007. “Comparable Preference Estimates Across Time and Institutions for the Court, Congress and Presidency.” American Journal of Political Science 51 (July): 3.

Saul Brenner , and Marc Stier . 1996. “Retesting Segal and Spaeth's Stare Decisis Model.” American Journal of Political Science 40: 1036–48.

Lee Epstein , Valerie Hoekstra , Jeffrey A. Segal , and Harold J. Spaeth . 1998. “Do Political Preferences Change? A Longitudinal Study of U.S. Supreme Court Justices.” Journal of Politics 60 (August): 801–18.

John Ferejohn , and Charles Shipan . 1990. “Congressional Influence on Bureaucracy.” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 6 (Special Issue): 120.

John Ferejohn , and Barry Weingast . 1992. “A Positive Theory of Statutory Interpretation.” International Review of Law and Economics 12: 263–79.

Barry Friedman . 2006. “Taking Law Seriously.” Perspectives on Politics 4 (2): 261–76.

Timothy M. Hagle , and Harold J. Spaeth . 1993. “Ideological Patterns in the Justices' Voting in the Burger Court's Business Cases.” Journal of Politics 55: 492505.

Anna Harvey , and Barry Friedman . 2006. “Pulling Punches: Constitutional Decisions in the U.S. Supreme Court, 1987–2000.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 31 (4): 533–62.

Robert Howard , and Jeffrey A. Segal . 2004. “A Preference for Deference? The Supreme Court and Judicial Review.” Political Research Quarterly 57 (1): 131–43.

Robert M. Howard , and Jeffrey A. Segal . 2002. “An Original Look at Originalism.” Law and Society Review 36 (1): 113–38.

Jack Knight , and Lee Epstein . 1996. “The Norm of Stare Decisis.” American Journal of Political Science 40: 1018–35.

Stefanie A. Lindquist , and David E. Klein . 2006. “The Influence of Jurisprudential Considerations on Supreme Court Decisionmaking: A Study of Conflict Cases.” Law and Society Review 40 (1): 135–62.

Stefanie A. Lindquist , and Rorie Spill Solberg . 2007. “Judicial Review by the Burger and Rehnquist Courts.” Political Research Quarterly 60 (1): 7190.

Andrew Martin , and Kevin Quinn . 2002. “Dynamic Ideal Point Estimation via Markov Chain Monte Carlo for the U.S. Supreme Court, 1953–1999.” Political Analysis 10 (Spring): 134–53.

Mark J. Richards , and Herbert Kritzer . 2002.“Jurisprudential Regimes in Supreme Court Decision Making.” American Political Science Review 96 (2): 305–20.

Brian R. Sala , and James F. Spriggs II. 2004. “Designing Tests of the Supreme Court and the Separation of Powers.” Political Research Quarterly 57 (2): 197208.

Jeffrey A. Segal , Lee Epstein , Charles M. Cameron , and Harold J. Spaeth . 1995. “The Ideological Values and Votes of U.S. Supreme Court Justices Revisited.” Journal of Politics 57: 812–23.

Jeffrey A. Segal , and Harold J. Spaeth . 1996a. “The Influence of Stare Decisis on the Votes of the United States Supreme Court Justices.” American Journal of Political Science 40 (November): 9711003.

Jeffrey A. Segal , and Harold J. Spaeth . 1996b. “Norms, Dragons, and Stare Decisis: A Response.” American Journal of Political Science 40: 1046–82.

Donald Songer , and Stefanie Lindquist . 1996. “Not the Whole Story: The Impact of Justices' Values on Supreme Court Decision-Making.” American Journal of Political Science 40: 1049–63.

Herbert Wechsler . 1959. “Toward Neutral Principles of Constitutional Law.” Harvard Law Review 73 (1): 1819.

Keith E Whittington . 2001. “Taking What They Give Us: Explaining the Court's Federalism Offensive.” Duke Law Journal 51 (1): 477520.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×