• 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 ...

Studying Law and Courts
Studying law and courts

In the 1963 case of School District of Abington Township v. Schempp, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment to the Constitution prohibits prayer and Bible-reading exercises in public school. This ruling was immensely controversial. Many public schools throughout the United States—but especially in the South—had historically engaged in some form of prayer in school. The public outcry against Schempp was so great that members of Congress immediately introduced nearly 150 proposals to overturn the decision.

Given the hostile political environment surrounding the Court's pronouncement, a natural question arises: Did school districts comply with Schempp? In his textbook The Supreme Court, the political scientist Lawrence Baum (1992b, 214) provides one answer when he writes that “[w]ithin three ...

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