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Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly

Abstract

This Article attempts, through statistical analysis, to identify the ideological leanings of the United States Supreme Court during the October 1994 Term. Although generally perceived as a conservative institution, the Court this Term adopted a more liberal stance in its approach to First Amendment, statutory civil rights, jurisdictional and federalism issues, and in litigation involving the federal government. Furthermore, in close cases that were decided by a one-Justice majority, the Court overwhelmingly adopted a more liberal result. Justice Kennedy remained the most influential Justice, his vote determining the outcome in over 80% of these close cases. While some of this liberal movement may be attributed to the nature of the agenda pursued by the Clinton administration, it is too broad-based to be discounted entirely. Regression analysis, moreover, reveals that there are several positive correlations (and one negative correlation) in the voting patterns of the five longest-tenured Justices.

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