Attitudinal and Neo-Institutional Models of Supreme Court Decision Making: An Empirical and Comparative Perspective from Israel

Keren Weinshall-Margel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examines decision making in Israel's Supreme Court regarding freedom of religion, while implementing models of decision making that were researched in other high courts, mainly the U.S. Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. Two theoretical models were studied: the attitudinal model, according to which justices decide disputes consistent with their ideological positions; and the neo-institutional approach, according to which the roles and norms of the court as an institution affect the justices' decisions. Conclusions indicate that justices' attitudes in Israel have a very strong influence on their votes on the merits. Religiously observant justices were significantly more likely to support freedom of religion claims than nonobservant justices. At the same time, the neo-institutional claim that the law does matter is also supported by the findings. The results of the study, as compared to former studies conducted in other countries, can help better understand the influence of institutional arrangements on decision making in high courts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)556-586
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Empirical Legal Studies
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011

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