Judicial decision-making in comparative perspective : ideology, law and activism in constitutional courts

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Weiden, David L.

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This dissertation proposes a new cross-national theory of judicial decision-making. The judicial politicization theory posits that judges on a highly politicized high court will be more likely to decide cases using ideological and attitudinal factors, while judges at less politicized high courts will be more likely to decide cases using legal factors. A new method for calculating judicial politicization is provided, and the theory is tested using generalizedestimating-equation logistic-regression analyses in newly collected data from the supreme courts of the United States, Canada, and Australia. The results show that the American and Australian cases strongly support the theory. That is, the attitudinal model is dominant in the U.S. while the legal model is more influential in Australia. In Canada, both legal and attitudinal factors are significant. In addition, the theory proposes that judicial activism is more likely to occur in highly politicized high courts, and the data also support this hypothesis.




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