State supreme courts and the effects of statutory constraint: A test of the model of contingent discretion

Kirk A. Randazzo, Richard W. Waterman, Michael P. Fix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Do state supreme court judges render decisions according to their ideological preferences, or are they constrained by the language of state statutes? Using data from the Judge-Level State Supreme Court Database, the authors analyze the votes of individual judges from 1995 to 1998 to determine whether their behavior is constrained by legislation. The results indicate that more detailed language (resulting in statutes with higher word counts) significantly limits the discretion afforded to liberal judges while simultaneously facilitating the ideological voting of their conservative colleagues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-789
Number of pages11
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Volume64
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Keywords

  • judicial politics
  • legislative statutes
  • state courts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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