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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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Causes and Consequences of Diverse Legal Values

Causes and Consequences of Diverse Legal Values

(p.80) Chapter 5 Causes and Consequences of Diverse Legal Values
The Constrained Court

Michael A. Bailey

Forrest Maltzman

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how historical context and personal experiences influence the legal values of justices, but the connections are imperfect and unpredictable. It argues that legal values are not independent of politics. As legal regimes evolve, so too do the patterns of legal values that justices hold. Adhering to these legal values may lead justices to vote against their immediate policy preferences. Once a justice subscribes to a doctrine, it does indeed act as a constraint. But justices typically associate themselves with legal values that tend to promote their favored outcomes. Personal experiences also shape a justice's support for stare decisis. Whether previous experience is measured in federal or total terms, justices who had more experience as a judge before coming to the Court show higher levels of influence by precedent.

Keywords:   legal values, historical context, personal experiences, Supreme Court justices, stare decisis, precedent

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