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The Evolution of a NationHow Geography and Law Shaped the American States$
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Daniel Berkowitz and Karen B. Clay

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691136042

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691136042.001.0001

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State Courts

State Courts

Chapter:
(p.133) Chapter 5 State Courts
Source:
The Evolution of a Nation
Author(s):

Daniel Berkowitz

Karen B. Clay

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691136042.003.0005

This chapter examines how a state's colonial legal system and levels of political competition in the state legislature shaped the independence of judges on the state high court. It argues that the independence of judges in state high courts influences their behavior on the bench and thus economic and social outcomes. This is because judges face the difficulties of maintaining their positions. Thus, this chapter shows how judges facing Republican electorates were more likely to vote for businesses over individuals, and how those facing Democratic electorates had the opposite voting patterns. The chapter illustrates a model emphasizing these patterns, by plotting the relationships among legal initial conditions, political competition, and state courts.

Keywords:   state courts, judges, state high courts, legal initial conditions, political competition, judicial independence

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