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The Constrained Court – Law, Politics, and the Decisions Justices Make - Princeton Scholarship Online
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The Constrained Court: Law, Politics, and the Decisions Justices Make

Michael A. Bailey and Forrest Maltzman


How do Supreme Court justices decide their cases? Do they follow their policy preferences? Or are they constrained by the law and by other political actors? This book combines new theoretical insights and extensive data analysis to show that law and politics together shape the behavior of justices on the Supreme Court. The book shows how two types of constraints have influenced the decision making of the modern Court. First, the book documents that important legal doctrines, such as respect for precedents, have influenced every justice since 1950. The book finds considerable variation in how t ... More

Keywords: Supreme Court justices, legal doctrine, precedents, U.S. Congress, U.S. president, personal policy preference, American law, politics, constitutional order

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780691151045
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691151045.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael A. Bailey, author
Georgetown University

Forrest Maltzman, author
George Washington University