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Activism, Attitudes, And The Citation Of Precedent In Supreme Court Opinions, Robert R. Robinson Aug 2013

Activism, Attitudes, And The Citation Of Precedent In Supreme Court Opinions, Robert R. Robinson

Robert R Robinson

Adherence to precedent provides a legitimizing function for judges. Recent scholarship supports this contention, demonstrating that Supreme Court justices are more likely to cite well-grounded precedent when their opinions face greater scrutiny. In this paper, I continue this line of research by examining whether citation practice varies along individual-level characteristics such as judicial ideology, a propensity for activism, judicial background, and judicial roles. I find that most individual-level factors have little or no impact on how justices ground their opinions in prior precedent, with the exception of judicial activism, which has a moderate negative impact on the centrality of the ...