TOWARD A STRATEGIC REVOLUTION IN JUDICIAL POLITICS: A LOOK BACK, A LOOK FORWARD
Published in 2000. Political Ressearch Quarterly 53 (September): 625-661. (Revised version of a paper presented at the 1995 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association.)
As papers presented at recent disciplinary conferences and articles published in major political science journals reveal, the field of judicial politics is undergoing a sea change. Variants of the social-psychological paradigm, which have long dominated thinking about law and courts, are giving way to approaches grounded in assumptions in rationality. More to the point, ever-growing numbers of scholars are now invoking the strategic account to understand judicial politics.
In this essay, we investigate this "strategic revolution." We begin by providing an intellectual history of the field, with special emphasis on why judicial specialists resisted strategic analysis for so long and why they are now (re)turning to it in ever-increasing numbers. Next, we consider the ways that analysts have begun to put the strategic account to work. This is an important task, for debates are already emerging over the "best" way to invoke the account to study judicial politics. We take the position that there is no one "right" way but rather four different approaches-all of which have the potential to provide us with important insights into law and courts.
Click here for the article (.pdf).
Click here for the conference paper.