EpsteinWalker - U N D E R S TAN court-composed of unelected...

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court-composed of unelected officials-strike them down? In this light, the Court should be seen as part of the ruling regime, willing to reflect its wishes. SUPREME COURT DECISIONMAKING: EXTRALEGAL APPROACHES So far in our discussion we have not mentioned the justices' ideologies, their political party affiliations, or their personal views on various public policy issues. The reason is that legally relevant approaches to Supreme Court decisionmaking do not admit that these factors playa role in the way the Court arrives at its decisions. Instead, they suggest that justices divorce themselves from their personal and political biases and settle dis- putes based upon the law. Extralegal approaches posit a quite different vision of Supreme Court decision making. They argue that the forces that drive the justices are anL thing but legal in composition. Put in different terms, ex- tralegal approaches suggest that It ISunrealistic to ex~ justices to shed all their preferences and values and to ig- nore public opinion when they put on their black robes. Rafner, under the black robes there is a person like all of us whose biases and partisan attachments are strong and -------- pervasive. )liStrCes usually do not admit that they are swayed by the public or that they vote according to their ideologies. Therefore, our discussion of extralegal approaches is dis- tinct from that of legally relevant factors. Here you will find little in the way of supporting statements from Court members, for it is an unusual justice indeed who admits to following anything but legally relevant criteria in deciding cases. Instead, we have included the results of decades of research by scholars who think that nonlegal- ly relevant forces shape judicial decisions. We organize these approaches into three categories: preference based, strategic, and political. See if you think these scholarly accounts are persuasive. Preference-Based Approaches As a class:..2.!:eference-based approaches see the jus- tices as rational decisionmakers who hold certain values they would lik-00 see reflected in the outcomes of Court cases. The two most prevalent preference-based ap- - - U N D E R S TAN DIN G THE U. s. SUP REM E C 0 U R T 35 proaches stress the importance of judicial attitudes and roles. Judicial Attitudes. Attitudinal approaches emphasize the importance of the justices' ideologies. Typically, scholars examining the ideologies of the justices discuss the degree to which a justice is conservative or liberal- as in "Justice X holds conservative views on issues of criminal law" or "Justice Y holds liberal views on free speech." This school of thought holds that when a case comes before the Court each justice evaluates the facts of the dispute and arrives at a decision consistent with his or her personal ideology.
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