IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Toward A Positive Theory of State Supreme Court Decision Making

Listed author(s):
  • Spiller Pablo T.

    (University of California, Berkeley)

  • Vanden Bergh Richard G.

    (University of Vermont)

State Supreme Courts have grown in importance during the last thirty years in the formation of public policy. Their judgements determine many aspects of constitutional law, tort reform, judicial selection, and campaign finance reform, among others. A vast body of literature has been developed that analyzes State Supreme Court decision making, which emphasizes the conditioning effects of the legal and institutional environment. This article expands on this previous work by incorporating the interaction of the judiciary with other government institutions, and applies the Positive Political Theory approach to law and legal institutions to the State Supreme Court. In addition, the neo-institutionalist literature of the selection process is incorporated to defend a systematic approach towards decision making. Towards that end, this article explores how judicial decisions are conditioned by institutional rules, resulting in a formal modeling of how the State Supreme Courts interact with political actors to form constitutional interpretation. This model includes the judicial selection processretention or competitive reelectionand is extended to constitutional amendment rules, explaining how these two interact rather than acting independently. Finally, the hypothesis is tested that when State Supreme Court judges face retention elections and political preferences are homogeneous, the probability increases of observing constitutional amendment prosposals.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Business and Politics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2003)
Issue (Month): 1 (December)
Pages: 1-39

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:5:y:2003:i:1:n:2
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:5:y:2003:i:1:n:2. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.