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JUDICIAL BIOGRAPHY AND THE JUDICIAL PROCESS - A SYSTEMS MODEL FOR ANALYSIS, EVALUATION, AND FURTHER RESEARCH

NCJ Number
51316
Author(s)
A BARTEE
Date Published
1976
Annotation
A SYSTEMS-ORIENTED MODEL IS PRESENTED TO SHOW THAT JUDICIAL BIOGRAPHY AND QUANTITATIVE STUDIES ARE COMPLEMENTARY. NARRATIVE DESCRIPTIONS CAN ADD DIMENSION TO ABSTRACT FINDINGS OF QUANTITATIVE SCHOLARS.
Abstract
A SURVEY OF POLITICAL SCIENCE LITERATURE DESCRIBING THE JUDICIAL PROCESS IS PRESENTED. JUDICIAL BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS ARE GROUPED INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES FOR THE ANALYSIS MODEL: INFORMATION THAT RELATES TO BACKGROUND CHARACTERISTICS AND PRECOURT CAREER BACKGROUNDS; THEORIES ABOUT JUDICIAL DECISIONMAKING FOCUSING ON THE COURT ITSELF AND THE ACTION, REACTION, AND INTERACTION OF THE JUSTICES WHO COMPOSE IT; AND IDEAS ADVANCED BY POLITICAL SCIENTISTS USING IMPACT ANALYSIS. FOUR COMPREHENSIVE BIOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNTS OF FORMER SUPREME COURT JUSTICES (TAFT, HUGHES, STONE, AND MURPHY) ARE ORGANIZED AND CLASSIFIED TO CONSTRUCT PARALLEL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE BIOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNTS AND VARIOUS QUANTITATIVE STUDIES AT EACH OF THE FOLLOWING LEVELS OF THE MODEL: (1) INPUTS (THE FORMATIVE YEARS AND PRECOURT CAREERS OF THESE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES); (2) CONVERSION (THE INTERACTION PROCESS DURING THE COURT PERIODS OF THE JUSTICES); AND (3) IMPACT (DECISIONMAKING PROCESS AS DESCRIBED BY JUDICIAL BIOGRAPHIES). A CASE STUDY IS EXAMINED ALSO TO ILLUSTRATE THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN THE BIOGRAPHER'S BIAS. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT JUDICIAL BIOGRAPHY AND QUANTITATIVE STUDIES ARE COMPLEMENTARY AND NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE, THAT QUANTITATIVE STUDIES CAN INDICATE POSITIVE CORRELATIONS AMONG THE VARIABLES IN DECISIONMAKING, AND THAT BIOGRAPHY CAN DEAL WITH QUESTIONS OF PURPOSE AND INTENT BASED ON NONSCALEABLE MATERIAL. RECOMMENDATIONS ARE MADE FOR STRUCTURING FUTURE JUDICIAL BIOGRAPHIES TO MAKE THE WORKS MORE VALUABLE TO SCHOLARS USING QUANTITATIVE METHODS. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--DAG)