This book was a preliminary effort to add to our knowledge of state supreme court performance. An attempt was made to identify some measures of supreme court performance--a judicial activism score, reversal and dissent rates--and to explain variation in performances in terms of contextual and institutional variables. These independent variables, such as political culture and the structure of the state judicial system, were derived from the findings of numerous researchers and placed in a model which provides a framework for the systematic studies of state courts of last resort. I have attempted to test the utility of some of the aspects of the models through a quantitative study of state judicial systems, the social and political backgrounds of justices, and the work of six supreme courts. This final chapter is devoted to an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the model in light of the quantitative findings.
According to Elazar ( 1966), states with high internal unity will be best equipped to fend off federal encroachment on their policies. However, only limited support for this hypothesis was found in the limited study of six courts. Highly unified states, such as Nebraska and Arizona, rarely invoked independent and adequate state grounds in constitutional cases, while diversified states, such as Michigan and New Jersey, more frequently relied exclusively upon state law. Moreover, there was little evidence of Elazar's sources of internal unity in the dockets of the supreme courts. There were only three disputes over the allocation of water resources in the combined dockets of California and Arizona, although there was some evidence of the importance of metropolitan problems in New Jersey, economic development in