Jeffrey Segal, CSDP Visiting Scholar; Stony Brook University

Are Supreme Court Justices Merely Legislators in Robes?

Mon, 11/14/2011
4:30 - 6:00 PM, Kerstetter Room, Marx Hall
Event Category: 

We hope you will join us for an upcoming LAPA Seminar with Jeffrey Segal, CSDP Visiting Scholar and Chair of Political Science at Stony Brook University, to discuss "Are Supreme Court Justices Merely Legislators in Robes?"   His commentator will be Keith Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics.

As always, the LAPA format asks that seminar participants familiarize themselves with the paper in advance. The commentator will open the session by summarizing the main themes in the paper and presenting some topics for discussion. The author then has the right of first response before we open to the floor for questions. The seminar will end with a brief reception in the Kerstetter Room, giving everyone a chance to mingle and meet. 

Professor Segal writes:  "We evaluate the claim that Supreme Court justices act like legislators in robes by: (1) comparing unidimensional ideal-point estimations of Congressional and Supreme Court decision making, (2) explicitly tying the Supreme Court's votes on judicial review of federal legislation to Congressional roll call votes on the same bill, (3) evaluating the effect of policy preferences on decisions to strike federal legislation,  (4) comparing the influence of the Supreme Court on Congressional decisions to that of Congress on Supreme Court decisions, and (5) comparing the role of party on the Supreme Court and in the Senate, and. The evidence strongly suggests that Supreme Court justices act as if they are 'legislators in robes.'''

Jeffrey Segal is SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of the political science department at Stony Brook University. He has also served as Global Research Fellow at the Hauser Global Law School Program at the NYU School of Law and as a Fellow in the Law and Social Sciences Program at Northwestern University. He has a Ph.D. in political science from Michigan State University (1983). He is co-author of seven books, including Majority Rule or Minority Will: Adherence to Precedent on the U.S. Supreme Court (Cambridge 1999, with Harold Spaeth) which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in law and judicial politics, and The Supreme Court and the Attitudinal Model (Cambridge 1993, also with Harold Spaeth) which won the Wadsworth Award (2005), for book or article, ten years or older, that has had a lasting influence on the field of law and courts. His articles include "Predicting Supreme Court Cases Probabilistically: The Search and Seizure Cases, 1962-1981" (American Political Science Review, 1984), which also won the Wadsworth Award (2002) for lasting influence. His article "The Supreme Court During Crisis" (NYU Law Review, 2005, with Lee Epstein, Daniel Ho, and Gary King) won the McGraw-Hill Award (2006) for best article published by political scientists on law and courts. Segal has served on the Board of the Law and Social Sciences Program at the NSF and as President of the Midwest Political Science Association. While at CSDP, he will be researching the historical responsiveness of the Supreme Court during wars and other crises. This project uses data from all cases involving Civil Rights and Liberties from the Supreme Court’s first decisions in 1793 until today.

Keith E. Whittington is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University and currently director of graduate studies in the Department of Politics. He is the author of Constitutional Construction: Divided Powers and Constitutional Meaning, and Constitutional Interpretation: Textual Meaning, Original Intent, and Judicial Review, and Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy: The Presidency, the Supreme Court, and Constitutional Leadership in U.S. History(which won the C. Herman Pritchett Award for best book in law and courts and the J. David Greenstone Award for best book in politics and history), and editor (with Neal Devins) of Congress and the Constitution and editor (with R. Daniel Kelemen and Gregory A. Caldeira) of The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics. He has published widely on American constitutional theory and development, federalism, judicial politics, and the presidency. He has been a John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellow and American Council of Learned Societies Junior Faculty Fellow, and a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Texas School of Law.  He is editor (with Gerald Leonard) of the New Essays on American Constitutional History and editor (with Maeva Marcus, Melvin Urofsky, and Mark Tushnet) of the Cambridge Studies on the American Constitution. He is currently completing a two-volume casebook American Constitutionalism (with Howard Gillman and Mark Graber) and working on a political history of the judicial review of federal statutes.