God save this honorable court : religion as a source of judicial policy preferences
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If Supreme Court behavior is structured largely by the policy preferences of the justices, political scientists ought to consider the source of those preferences. Religion is one force that can strongly shape a judge’s worldview and therefore her votes. In this paper, I examine the effect of religion on U.S. Supreme Court votes in 11 issue areas plausibly connected to religious values. Catholic justices vote in ways that more closely adhere to the teachings of the Catholic Church than non-Catholic justices even after controlling for ideology. These results may indicate that Catholic theology is different from Protestant or Jewish theology. It is also possible that on some issues there is not much of a theological difference, but religious values play a more prominent role in public life for Catholic justices.