On the Role of Ideological Homogeneity in Generating Consequential Constitutional Decisions
26 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2018
Date Written: 2008
Assuming that Supreme Court justices in the majority can transform any constitutional dispute into a ruling with major (or minor) legal implications, what explains their choice? Several possibilities present themselves. But here we focus chiefly on the effect of ideological diversity on the nature of the decision the Justices render, and argue that the more homogeneous the majority, the higher the likelihood of a consequential decision. An analysis of Supreme Court decisions addressing state or federal constitutional matters (1953-2005 terms) lends support to our claim: Regardless of the size of the majority, a strong and positive association exists between ideological homogeneity and the production of a noteworthy decision.
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