• 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 ...

The Attitudinal Model
The attitudinal model
HaroldJ.Spaeth

What explains why judges, at least those on the U.S. Supreme Court, decide cases the way they do? To answer this question we need to focus on judges’ decisions rather than on the reasons they give in their opinions for deciding the way they have. For the explanations that persons—including judges—give for what they have done do not necessarily correspond to their actions. If human beings have any unlimited capability, it is their capacity to rationalize their behavior. We all desire to put the best face on our deeds, public officials no less than anyone else. Indeed, the authoritative character of government action and the need that public officials have for public acceptance, if not approval, commonly causes them to ...

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