American Government and Politics

Implications of Court Curbing in the US States



State courts decide far more cases than federal courts, impacting the daily lives of state citizens. However, considerably less is known about judicial decision-making among state court judges, particularly when subject to court-curbing activity by other policy-makers. This paper examines the implications of court curbing on the judicial behavior of US state court judges. Court curbing aims to diminish judicial independence and alter the balance of powers among branches of government. However, the extent of influence these attacks have on targeted judiciaries is largely unknown. I argue that judges alter their decision-making around cases based on recent court-curbing activity. Specifically, I utilize two novel measures of court curbing, court-curbing intensity and court-curbing likelihood, which serve as indicators of the levels of potential institutional change to the court and likelihood that a proposal will be enacted. These measures extend beyond the simple counts of court-curbing proposals used in past studies.


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