Course Information

Course Number




Social Scientific Research and the Supreme Court

This course will focus on social-scientific research on the U.S. Supreme Court. Primary emphasis will be placed on two issues. First, we will analyze the various factors that enter into explanations of Supreme Court decision-making. In doing so we will consider (1) the strengths and weaknesses of the social scientific research on these factors and (2) the similarities and differences in the ways in which social scientists and legal scholars traditionally address these questions. Second, we will assess the implications of Supreme Court decisions for politics and social policy. Here we will consider both the practical and normative implications of social scientific research on Supreme Court impact.

Requirements: Class presentation and final paper (25 pages).

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.


Jack Knight
Social Scientific Research and the Supreme Court 769.01
Spring 2009
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