American Politics (Supreme Court)
A Summary of ‘Does Legal Doctrine Matter? Unpacking Law and Policy Preferences on the US Supreme Court’
Bailey and Maltzman published an article in the American Political Science Association journal titled Does Legal Doctrine Matter? Unpacking Law and Policy Preferences on the US Supreme Court on the 3rd of August 2008. The article’s main thesis discusses the application of a spatial model in an effort to formulate a test tailored to measure the effects that three major legal doctrines have on the decision made by justices of the US Supreme Court. The three major legal doctrines are judicial restrain, stare decisis, and protection of speech.
The three legal doctrines tend to be employed differently by different justices such that the voting by justices on the outcome of a given case will depend on which of the three doctrines each individual justice seeks to uphold. In this article, Bailey and Maltzman (2008) provide that it is within the capacity of a judge based on the evidence before him or her and the circumstances of the case to opt for any doctrine that best suits a valid outcome.
As such, the two authors provide that judicial policy and adherence to the Constitution as the major determinants influence US supreme Court decisions. Judicial policies are formulated by the Senators in the US congress and are thus considered as a political means of influencing the Supreme Court decisions. Legal rules on the other hand govern the decision making processes employed by US Supreme Court justices in deciding the outcome of a case before the court. This implies that justices ca exercise individual policy preferences. The conclusions on the findings of the authors provide researchers with more insights in subsequent investigations as to how the law