On the Role of Ideological Homogeneity in Generating Consequential Constitutional Decisions

26 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2018

See all articles by Nancy C. Staudt

Nancy C. Staudt

Washington University Law School

Barry Friedman

New York University School of Law

Lee Epstein

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Date Written: 2008

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Staudt, Nancy Christine and Friedman, Barry and Epstein, Lee, On the Role of Ideological Homogeneity in Generating Consequential Constitutional Decisions (2008). University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2008; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2821749

Nancy Christine Staudt

Washington University Law School ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Barry Friedman (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
Room 317
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-998-6293 (Phone)
212-995-4030 (Fax)

Lee Epstein

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

HOME PAGE: http://epstein.wustl.edu

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