POLS 122


Judicial Politics



Although most Americans perceive America’s courts as legal institutions rather than political ones, the fact is that judges and justices are not merely neutral arbiters of the law. To the contrary, they are influence legislature and executives. This course will examine the effects of these forces on judicial behavior. We will explore such topics as the role of interest groups in sponsoring litiga- tion; the influence of public opinion and election on judicial decisions; the various methods of selecting judges and their consequences; and the importance of the judges’ personal political beliefs. This course is designed to provide a real- istic, impartial, and political perspective on the courts that is usually missing from traditional law school education. Law schools ask the questions: “What have the court said?” This course asks, “Why have they said what they’ve said?”


Upper division standing or instructor consent




Normal Grading Rules