Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1898693
 


 



Religion, Schools, and Judicial Decision Making: An Empirical Perspective


Michael Heise


Cornell Law School

Gregory C. Sisk


University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

2012

79 University of Chicago Law Review 187(2012)
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-19
Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-28

Abstract:     
We analyze various influences on judicial outcomes favoring religion in cases involving elementary and secondary schools and decided by lower federal courts. A focus on religion in the school context is warranted as the most difficult and penetrating questions about the proper relationship between Church and State have arisen with special frequency, controversy, and fervor in the often-charged atmosphere of education. Schools and the Religion Clauses collide persistently, and litigation frames many of these collisions. Also, the frequency and magnitude of these legal collisions increase as various policy initiatives increasingly seek to leverage private and religious schools in the service of education reform. Our analyses include all digested Establishment and Free Exercise Clause decisions by federal court of appeals and district court judges from 1996 through 2005 that involved elementary and secondary schools. As it relates to differences between school and other (or non-school) cases, our main finding is that both measures of judicial ideology correlate with the likelihood of a pro-religion decision. That is, Republican-appointed judges were more likely than their Democratic-appointed counterparts to reach a pro-religion decision in school cases, and ideology did not correlate with a pro-religion outcome in non-school cases. Results using common space scores as a proxy for ideology were similar. Although these results dilute the strength of the “legal model” of judicial decision making, this type of case (religion) in this particular context (schools) are particularly amenable to ideological influence.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: Courts, Judges, Judicial Decision Making, Religion, Constitution

Accepted Paper Series


Download This Paper

Date posted: July 30, 2011 ; Last revised: May 17, 2012

Suggested Citation

Heise, Michael and Sisk, Gregory C., Religion, Schools, and Judicial Decision Making: An Empirical Perspective (2012). 79 University of Chicago Law Review 187(2012); U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-19 ; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 11-28. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1898693 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1898693

Contact Information

Michael Heise (Contact Author)
Cornell Law School ( email )
310 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-0069 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)
Gregory C. Sisk
University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )
MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
651-962-4892 (Phone)

Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 893
Downloads: 129
Download Rank: 124,970

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo1 in 0.344 seconds