Thursday, July 6, 2017

Baum on Ideology in the Supreme Court

New from Princeton University Press: Ideology in the Supreme Court (2017), by Lawrence Baum (Ohio State University). A description from the Press:
Ideology in the Supreme Court is the first book to analyze the process by which the ideological stances of U.S. Supreme Court justices translate into the positions they take on the issues that the Court addresses. Eminent Supreme Court scholar Lawrence Baum argues that the links between ideology and issues are not simply a matter of reasoning logically from general premises. Rather, they reflect the development of shared understandings among political elites, including Supreme Court justices. And broad values about matters such as equality are not the only source of these understandings. Another potentially important source is the justices' attitudes about social or political groups, such as the business community and the Republican and Democratic parties.
The book probes these sources by analyzing three issues on which the relative positions of liberal and conservative justices changed between 1910 and 2013: freedom of expression, criminal justice, and government "takings" of property. Analyzing the Court's decisions and other developments during that period, Baum finds that the values underlying liberalism and conservatism help to explain these changes, but that justices' attitudes toward social and political groups also played a powerful role.
Providing a new perspective on how ideology functions in Supreme Court decision making, Ideology in the Supreme Court has important implications for how we think about the Court and its justices.
A few blurbs:
"Close observers of the Supreme Court know that sometimes its conservatives and liberals flip sides. Using the examples of free speech, criminal law, and takings, with glances at other topics, Lawrence Baum develops a systematic account of why and how these shifts occur. In doing so, he deepens our understanding of how ideology--apart from political theories and preferences about outcomes--shapes the Court’s decisions." --Mark Tushnet

"Baum offers a unique perspective on the Supreme Court. He makes a compelling case for reconsidering our traditional understanding of ideological voting on the Court, suggesting that justices' votes may be determined by their disposition toward particular litigants. Presenting a challenging new way to think about decision making on the Court, this is an important book." --Kevin T. McGuire
More information is available here.