The Download of the Week is Judicial Activism and the Rehnquist Court by Lori A. Ringhand.
This paper is an empirical analysis of the voting behavior of the individual Justices currently sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court. The purpose of the paper is to quantifiably demonstrate that there is little correlation between three frequently linked concepts: judicial activism, counter-majoritarianism, and political liberalism. The paper, which focuses on the 11-year period between 1994 and 2005 when there were no personnel changes on the Court, examines individual judicial votes to invalidate federal and state laws, and to overturn existing precedent. I conclude that the currently sitting judicial conservatives are no less likely than their more liberal counterparts to invalidate legislation and overturn precedent, and to do so in ideological predicable ways. After reaching a similar conclusion following a comparative examination of the Rehnquist and Warren Courts, I call for a rejection of the misleading and essentially empty political rhetoric linking judicial activism, counter-majoritarianism and political liberalism.
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