Empiricism, Religion, and Judicial Decision-Making
15 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2010 Last revised: 31 Aug 2010
Date Written: 2006
This Essay reviews empirical studies suggesting that the religious orientations of judges and litigants affect judicial outcomes. These empirical studies, however, necessarily have limitations: They do not unequivocally prove any hypotheses, but rather provide evidence of certain tendencies in judicial decision making. Specifically, the religious orientations of both the judge (or judges) and the claimants appear to affect whether or not a religious freedom claim, particularly one brought under the free exercise clause, is likely to be either validated or invalidated. More generally, an individual’s perceived membership in a social group is likely to influence his or her values, interests, and judgments.
Keywords: empiricism, religion, judicial decision-making, religious freedom
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation