Monday, September 25, 2023

This is nothing new: ideology affects supreme courts

It is expected that the personal ideology of decision makers will affect their deliberations and, especially on the political side, it will affect the guidelines of management and the form that regulation takes. However, there is an expectation that some of the gears that make up the machinery of the State will escape this influence, as in the case of the Judiciary. This is the initial idea raised in “Ideological influences on governance and regulation: The comparative case of supreme courts”.

How are the ideas of members of the highest courts measured? That is the question that academics Keren Weinshall and Yaˈacov Ritov, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and Udi Sommer, from Columbia University, seek to answer. The authors say that judges are legislators in almost every sense of the word and that the literature shows that in some countries the impact of this ideology can be great, especially at the highest levels of the judicial hierarchy.

How do they measure up? The Dynamic Comparative Attitudinal Measure (DCAM) is a dynamic index that estimates the degree of ideological decision of a court through the individual votes of its members, especially in cases involving political rights and religious rights, to estimate the amount corresponding to the Ideological Ideal Point Preference of each judge compared to the ideological preferences of their colleagues, with the highest courts of the United States, Canada, India, the Philippines and Israel being the subject jurisdiction of measurement researchers.

The goal is to create scores that reflect the characteristics that influence the decision-making of each Supreme Court, where different legal systems are influenced by the preferences of judges depending on the institutional, political and cultural environment. .

The article argues that judicial decisions contain ideological, strategic and jurisprudential components of change and dynamic levels, and that, therefore, the institutional design and the political context also influence differently. them.

These are the precise components that make an adequate comparison between countries more complicated, but which, through rigorous statistical methods, can be compared between different case studies.

Along these lines, the results show that the Supreme Court of the United States shows the highest level of ideological behavior, although it should be kept in mind that the judges of this entity enjoy lifelong training and have a bureaucracy to be reduced to a minimum. In Canada, unlike its neighbor, a greater influence of ideology is seen in cases involving religious rights compared to political cases.

Below, we leave you the first table with the research results:

According to the authors, the benefits of making this measurement range from the socio-legal investigation of a country to the analysis of how certain institutional configurations or not encourage deliberations that reflect a more ideological presence. Today, this measurement system includes other variables such as the number of judges, teaching mechanisms, number of cases reviewed, where the hands of file control remain, etc.

We recommend reading the academic article to understand how the system works with variables.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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