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The Constrained CourtLaw, Politics, and the Decisions Justices Make$
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Michael A. Bailey and Forrest Maltzman

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151045

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151045.001.0001

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(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction
The Constrained Court

Michael A. Bailey

Forrest Maltzman

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter considers the constraints faced by Supreme Court justices. It begins by discussing the attitudinal model, which assumes that justices are “decision makers who always vote their unconstrained attitudes.” It then turns to three legal principles that might constrain justices: stare decisis, judicial restraint, and strict construction of the Constitution. Stare decisis is the doctrine that decisions should be consistent with past decisions. Judicial restraint implies that justices should defer to elected officials as much as possible within the bounds established by the Constitution. The remainder of the chapter deals with external constraints followed by an overview of the subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   Supreme Court justices, legal constraints, attitudinal model, stare decisis, judicial restraint, constitution

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