Supreme Court, Judicial Activism, Attitudinal Model
The influence of ideology and attitudes on the decision-making process of Supreme Court justices has been well documented, such that the attitudinal model has emerged as the dominant paradigm for understanding judicial behavior. When ideology and personal preferences seem to eclipse legal factors, such as adherence to precedent and deference to the democratically-elected branches, outcries of 'judicial activism' have occurred. Previous studies (Lindquist and Cross 2009) have operationalized judicial activism and have provided measures for studying behavior that may be considered activist (as opposed to restrainist), further supporting the premise that ideology trumps other extra-attitudinal and legal factors in the judicial decision-making process. While the attitudinal model indicates that ideology is the strongest predictor of judicial decision-making, this research will include a number of legal variables that have significantly influenced justices' votes. As previous studies have demonstrated, an integrated model that combines a number of critical variables can have more explanatory power than one that relies on attitudinal reasons alone (Banks 1999; Hurwitz and Stefko 2004; Mishler and Sheehan 1996). As such, the purpose of this research is to examine individual level decision-making of the most ideological justices on the Burger and Rehnquist Courts (1969-2004) in regards to their activist behavior to overrule legal precedents and invalidate federal statutes. This research will employ multivariate regression analysis to assess the effects of attitudinal, legal and extra-attitudinal factors in the judicial decision-making process.
Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Larsen, Tiahna, "Ideological Voting On The Supreme Court: An Analysis Of Judicial Activism On The Burger And Rehnquist Courts, 1969-2004" (2010). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4425.