THE SUPREME COURT AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE DISPUTES: A NEO-INSTITUTIONAL PERSPECTIVE
Published in 1989. American Journal of Political Science. 33 (4): 825-841. (Revised version of a paper delivered at the 1987 meeting of the American Political Science Association.)
Thomas G. Walker
William J. Dixon
This study conceptualizes the U.S. Supreme Court as a political institution whose decision-making behavior over time can be effectively explained and predicted. A four-variable model is constructed as a means of better understanding the Court's policy outputs in criminal justice disputes. This model represents Court decisions as a function of the institution's political composition, the generally stable attitudes of its members, its policymaking priorities, and the political environment. The results indicate that the model has substantial explanatory and predictive capacity when applied to Supreme Court criminal rights cases from 1946 to 1986.
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