Decision Making by the Modern Supreme Court

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 13, 2011 - Political Science
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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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1 The Supreme Court
2 Heuristic Models of Judicial Decision Making
3 Building an Integrated Model of Decision Making
4 Decision Making on the Modern Supreme Court
5 Building a New Legacy
6 Sharing the Protection of Minorities
7 Avoiding Another SelfInflicted Wound
8 Policing the Boundaries
9 Conclusion
Measurement Appendix
Cases Cited

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About the author (2011)

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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