Case salience and the attitudinal model: An analysis of ordered and unanimous votes on the Rehnquist Court

David A. Lewis, Roger P. Rose

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    How can we explain when ideology is more likely, and less likely, to influence Supreme Court decision making? We examine this question by comparing ordered and unanimous votes on the Rehnquist Court between 1994 and 2004. Building on previous research, our results suggest that the influence of attitudes on Supreme Court decisions varies by the level of case salience. When the case before the Court raises important questions of politics or policy, and therefore attracts a disproportionate amount of attention, the attitudinal model performs admirably: the justices are more likely to split into ideologically coherent blocs and less likely to produce unanimous opinions. Yet the explanatory power of the attitudinal model diminishes significantly in non-salient cases with lower political stakes. These findings underscore the utility of a conditional approach to the study of judicial attitudes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)27-44
    Number of pages18
    JournalJustice System Journal
    Volume35
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2014

    Keywords

    • Attitudinal model
    • Case salience
    • Ordered votes
    • Rehnquist Court
    • Unanimous votes

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