Politics and the Courts: Toward a General Theory of Public Law

Synopsis

In the public law area, it has been noted that judicial decisionmaking is not always objective, that the courts are not constrained by the law and the facts of the case, and that courts are actually policymakers influenced by extraneous factors having little to do with the legal and factual matters of a case. Yarnold argues that the public law area has discarded the traditional view of the judiciary as a passive interpreter of the law. She examines political and environmental variables that have been used to explain judicial outcomes and develops an original theory of public law explaining under what circumstances political variables impact court decisions, and when region, as an environmental variable, is related to judicial outcomes.

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