Rubber Stamps and Litmus Tests: The President, the Senate, and Judicial Voting Behavior in Abortion Cases in the U.S. Federal District Courts

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This thesis focuses on how well indicators of judicial ideology and institutional constraints predict whether a judge will vote to increase abortion access. I develop a model that evaluates a judge's decision in an abortion case in light of ideological factors measured at the time of a judge's nomination to the bench and legal and institutional constraints at the time a judge decides a case. I analyze abortion cases from all of the U.S. Federal District Courts from 1973-2004. Unlike previous studies, which demonstrate that the president and the home state senators are the best predictors of judicial ideology, I ... continued below

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Craig, McKinzie August 2007.

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  • Craig, McKinzie

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This thesis focuses on how well indicators of judicial ideology and institutional constraints predict whether a judge will vote to increase abortion access. I develop a model that evaluates a judge's decision in an abortion case in light of ideological factors measured at the time of a judge's nomination to the bench and legal and institutional constraints at the time a judge decides a case. I analyze abortion cases from all of the U.S. Federal District Courts from 1973-2004. Unlike previous studies, which demonstrate that the president and the home state senators are the best predictors of judicial ideology, I find that the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time of the judge's nomination is the only statistically significant ideological indicator. Also, contrary to conventional wisdom, Supreme Court precedent (a legal constraint) is also a significant predictor of judicial voting behavior in abortion cases.

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  • August 2007

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  • Jan. 14, 2008, 11:09 p.m.

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  • Dec. 4, 2013, 10:20 a.m.

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Craig, McKinzie. Rubber Stamps and Litmus Tests: The President, the Senate, and Judicial Voting Behavior in Abortion Cases in the U.S. Federal District Courts, thesis, August 2007; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3985/: accessed July 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .