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The Effect of Religious Affiliation on Courts of Appeals Judge Decision-Making

Thu, August 31, 8:00 to 9:30am, Hilton Union Square, Continental Parlor 9


Several studies through the years have shown there are differences in the decisions made by judges based on religious affiliation. The purpose of this study is to examine whether religious affiliation affects the responsiveness of Courts of Appeals judges when it comes to changing Supreme Court precedent. In particular, I theorize that depending on religious affiliation, Courts of Appeals judges will be more or less responsive to changes in Supreme Court precedent. Utilizing Establishment Clause cases decided by the United States Courts of Appeals between 1971 and 2005, I find that there are differences in how responsive judges are to changing Supreme Court Establishment Clause precedent based on religious affiliation, but the changes are not what are expected.