Political Behavior

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 22–36 | Cite as

Presidents, Supreme Court justices, and racial equality cases: 1954–1984

  • John B. Gates
  • Jeffrey E. Cohen


This research assesses the policy success of presidents since Eisenhower in their appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court in racial equality cases from 1954–1984. The research examines presidential preferences in a much more detailed and sensitive manner than previous research. While past research has used presidential party as a measure of the policy preferences of presidents, we examine policy preferences in a very direct manner. Specifically, the preferences of presidents on racial equality issues are gauged by their public policy statements. These statements serve to tap the degree of liberalness, the level of attention, and the level of concern with judicial actions in racial equality matters. The results demonstrate that presidents have been much more successful in appointing like-minded justices than is suggested by the existing literature. In addition, it is shown that prior judicial experience is not related to presidential success. This is discussed in terms of the perennial debate over the political control of the Supreme Court and the congruence of Court policy making with majoritarian values.


Public Policy Policy Statement Past Research Policy Preference Policy Success 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abraham, Henry (1985).Justices and Presidents (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aldrich, John H., and Cnudde, Charles (1976). Probing the bounds of conventional wisdom.American Journal of Political Science 19:571.Google Scholar
  3. Aldrich, John H., and Nelson, Forrest D. (1984).Linear Probability, Logit, and Probit Models. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  4. Arnold, R. Douglas (1979).Congress and the Bureaucracy. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, Nathaniel (1982). Parties, administrations, and American macroeconomic outcomes.American Political Science Review 76:83.Google Scholar
  6. Berger, Raoul (1977).Government by Judiciary. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Choper, Jesse H. (1980).Judicial Review and the National Political Process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Corwin, E. S. (1938).Court over Constitution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Cragg, John G., and Uhler, Robert (1970). The demand for automobiles.Canadian Journal of Economics 3:386.Google Scholar
  10. Cronin, Thomas (1980).The State of the Presidency (2nd ed.). Boston: Little Brown.Google Scholar
  11. Dahl, Robert (1957). Decision-making in a democracy: The Supreme Court as a national policymaker.Journal of Public Law 6:279.Google Scholar
  12. Edelman, Martin (1984).Democratic Theories and the Constitution. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  13. Eisenhower, Dwight D. (1965).The White House Years: Mandate for Change, 1953–1956. New York: New American Library.Google Scholar
  14. Ely, John Hart (1980).Democracy and Distrust: A Theory of Judicial Review. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Friedrich, Robert J. (1982). In defense of multiplication terms in multiple regression equations.American Journal of Political Science 26:797.Google Scholar
  16. Handberg, Roger, and Hill, Harold (1982). Court-curbing, Court reversal, and judicial review: The Supreme Court versus Congress.Law and Society Review 14:309.Google Scholar
  17. Heck, Edward V., and Shull, Steven A. (1982). Policy preferences of justices and presidents.Law and Policy Quarterly 4:327.Google Scholar
  18. Heck, Edward V., and Shull, Steven A. (1984). Justices and presidents: Issue salience and policy agreement. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  19. Hyman, Harold M., and Wiecek, William M. (1982).Equal Justice Under the Law. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  20. Johnson, Charles (1982). Content analytic techniques in judicial research. Paper presented at the 1982 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association.Google Scholar
  21. Krippendorff, Klaus (1980).Content Analysis: An Introduction to Its Methodology. Beverly Hills: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Maddala, G. S. (1983).Limited-Dependent and Qualitative Variables in Econometrics. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  23. McCleskey, Clifton (1966). Judicial review in a democracy: A dissenting opinion.Houston Law Review 3:354.Google Scholar
  24. McFadden, D. (1974). The measurement of urban travel demand.Journal of Public Economics 7:55Google Scholar
  25. Paul, Arnold M. (1972).Conservative Crisis and the Rule of Law. New York: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Pennock, J. Roland (1979).Democratic Political Theory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Perry, Michael (1982).The Courts, the Constitution, and Human Rights. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Rohde, David, and Spaeth, Harold (1976).Supreme Court Decisionmaking. San Francisco: Freeman.Google Scholar
  29. Rosenberg, Gerald N. (1985). Judicial independence and the reality of political power. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans.Google Scholar
  30. Schubert, Glendon (1974).The Judicial Mind Revisited. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Scigliano, Robert (1971).The Supreme Court and the Presidency. San Francisco: Free Press.Google Scholar
  32. Smith, Rogers (1985).Liberalism and American Constitutional Law. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Swindler, William F. (1969).Court and Constitution in the Twentieth Century: The Old Legality, 1889–1932. New York: Bobbs-Merrill.Google Scholar
  34. Tate, C. Neal (1981). Personal attribute models of the voting behavior of U.S. Supreme Court justices: Liberalism in civil liberties and economic decisions, 1946–1978.American Political Science Review 75:355.Google Scholar
  35. Tribe, Lawrence (1978).American Constitutional Law. Mineola, N.Y.: Foundation Press.Google Scholar
  36. Warren, Charles (1932).The Supreme Court in United States History, Vol. 2. Boston: Little Brown.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • John B. Gates
    • 1
  • Jeffrey E. Cohen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of CaliforniaDavis
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Illinois-UrbanaUSA

Personalised recommendations