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State High Courts: Independent or Constrained Actors?

Stricko-Neubauer, Tara Wynn (2006) State High Courts: Independent or Constrained Actors? Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines the degree to which judges on state high courts are constrained in their decision-making. Specifically I focus on the relationship between institutional and environmental factors and the likelihood of retaliation for unpopular decisions. Of particular interest is how the above factors relate to both elite and mass retaliation across a variety of different areas of case law. Using several different empirical techniques I study decisions issued by all fifty state high courts from 1995 through 1997. Areas of law examined include: campaigns and elections, social issues, welfare cases, and the death penalty. Evidence suggests that the level of constraint faced by judges varies depending upon institutional structures, ideological distance, and issue salience. These findings expand upon previous research by including the preferences of both elite and mass actors and present a more complete picture of how institutional and environmental factors influence judicial decision-making on state high courts.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Stricko-Neubauer, Tara Wynntws5@pitt.eduTWS5
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBonneau, Chris W.cwb7@pitt.eduCWB7
Committee MemberPeters, B. Guybgpeters@pitt.eduBGPETERS
Committee MemberBerkowitz, Daniel M.dmberk@pitt.eduDMBERK
Committee MemberBarker, David C.dbarker@pitt.eduDBARKER
Date: 2 October 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 29 June 2006
Approval Date: 2 October 2006
Submission Date: 8 June 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: judicial decision-making; neo-institutionalism; strategic behavior
Other ID:, etd-06082006-101951
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:46
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:44


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