• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Seventeen thought-provoking essays in this sophisticated yet accessible reader demonstrate how political scientists conduct research on law, courts, and the judicial process, and at the same time answer interesting, substantive questions. Illustrating the breadth and depth of judicial politics studies, the essays convey to students the array of contemporary thinking -- both theoretical and methodological -- at work in the field. The book's five parts cover subjects taught in most judicial politics courses. Because each chapter stands alone, instructors have the flexibility of assigning less than the whole book or chapters in a different order. Topics examined range from information used by voters electing judges to the credibility of victims of sexualized violence. Accessible to both undergraduate and graduate students, Contemplating Courts offers fascinating views ...

Lower Appellate Courts
Lower appellate courts

In the introduction to Part I, I noted several distinctions between the way political scientists and journalists think about dimensions of legal processes. Here, I observe a parallel. Just as the media tend to focus their attention on trial court proceedings and U.S. Supreme Court decisions, so do scholars. What both frequently neglect, however, are the lower appellate courts, often called courts of appeals.

In many ways, the omission of these tribunals from newspaper stories and scholarly treatments is surprising.1 After all, about three-fourths of all states have intermediate courts, and these bodies process a good deal of litigation. In 1990, for example, the Illinois appellate courts disposed of about 8,000 cases—nearly forty times the number handled by the state's supreme ...

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