Dimensions of Decision Making: Determining the Complexity of Politics on the High Court of Australia
28 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2010
Date Written: October 29, 2002
While we know a great deal about the ideological divides that explain the behavior of U.S. Supreme Court Justices, we know very little about their counterparts in other countries. The liberal-conservative dimension captures a great deal of the variance around the behavior of justices on the Supreme Court, but little is known about the generalizability of this one-dimensional explanation to other national high courts. This paper attempts to determine the nature and complexity of agreement and disagreement among Justices on the High Court of Australia. Using data from High Court decisions from 1985-2000, I employ a multidimensional scaling technique to determine the number of cross-cutting issues dividing Justices in ideological space. I conclude that, unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, at least two dimensions are needed to accurately describe decision-making on the High Court.
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