Document Type

Article

Subject Area(s)

Political Science, Law

Abstract

Much has been written recently about the emergence of evangelicals and others often labeled the "new Religious Right" in American politics. However, little attention has been paid to whether officials who have been socialized in the denominations characterized as being part of this Religious Right actually behave differently in office from those brought up in other religious traditions. The present study begins such an inquiry by examining differences in the voting behavior of state supreme court justices in three issue areas. Evangelical justices were found to be significantly more conservative than mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish justices in death penalty, gender discrimination, and obscenity cases throughout the time period from 1970 to 1993. These findings suggest that religious affiliation is an indicator of a source of judicial values that is independent of partisan sources of values that have been discovered in previous research.

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