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University of Michigan Law School

Empirical studies

Law and Politics

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Ideology 'All The Way Down'? An Empirical Study Of Establishment Clause Decisions In The Federal Courts, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise May 2012

Ideology 'All The Way Down'? An Empirical Study Of Establishment Clause Decisions In The Federal Courts, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise

Michigan Law Review

As part of our ongoing empirical examination of religious liberty decisions in the lower federal courts, we studied Establishment Clause rulings by federal court of appeals and district court judges from 1996 through 2005. The powerful role of political factors in Establishment Clause decisions appears undeniable and substantial, whether celebrated as the proper integration of political and moral reasoning into constitutional judging, shrugged off as mere realism about judges being motivated to promote their political attitudes, or deprecated as a troubling departure from the aspirational ideal of neutral and impartial judging. In the context of Church and State cases in ...


To Elect Or Not To Elect: A Case Study Ofjudicial Selection In New York City 1977-2002, Steven Zeidman Apr 2004

To Elect Or Not To Elect: A Case Study Ofjudicial Selection In New York City 1977-2002, Steven Zeidman

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This Article examines the process of judicial selection in New York State in light of the recent court decisions in White and Spargo, which have paved the way for increased campaign speech in judicial elections. Relying on empirical data to compare judicial elections and appointments in New York City between 1977 and 2002, the Article finds that elections produce a judiciary that is more beholden to interest groups than one generated through appointments. The consequence of this greater special interest involvement is an erosion of public trust and confidence in the judiciary. Moreover while elections arguably have increased diversity in ...