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Judicial Mind, 1946-1969 (ICPSR 7289)

Principal Investigator(s):


This study employed a social-psychological approach to study how and why judicial decisions were made and to present a substantive interpretation of major post-World War II trends in the Supreme Court's policy-making on the basis of aggregate data measuring both manifest voting behavior and inferred political attitudes of the justices. Besides recording the position taken by each justice on the cases considered, several scales were constructed reflecting the ideological implications of judicial decisions. About a third of the decisions included in this study dealt with questions of political rights and civil liberties, and were used to create a political liberalism scale, with the following subcomponents: fair procedure, voting equality, political freedom, religious freedom, racial equality, and civic equality. Another third of the cases, concerned with questions of economic policy, were classified as a scale of economic liberalism, with two major components -- governmental regulation of economic activities and support for labor unions. The remaining third of the sampled decisions were used to construct minor scales: judicial activism and judicial centralization, focusing on the Supreme Court's own political role, a fiscal claims scale dealing with the financial interests of the federal government, and a nationalization scale concerned with the extent to which a justice tended to uphold the claims and interests of the national government.

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Study Description


Schubert, Glendon. JUDICIAL MIND, 1946-1969. Compiled by Glendon Schubert, University of Hawaii. ICPSR ed. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [producer and distributor], 1976. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR07289.v1

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This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SOC75-17915)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   Black, Hugo, Brennan, William, civil rights, court cases, Douglas, William, economic policy, Fortas, Abe, Frankfurter, Felix, government elites, judges, judicial activism, judicial decisions, legal history, legal systems, liberalism, Marshall, Thurgood, policy making, political attitudes, political ideology, post-World War II period, Supreme Court decisions, Supreme Court justices, taxation, United States Supreme Court, voting behavior, Warren, Earl

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1946--1969

Date of Collection:  

  • 1959--1969

Universe:   Cases decided in the Supreme Court between 1946 and 1969.

Data Types:   aggregate data


Sample:   The sample included all 2,359 cases not decided unanimously between 1946 and 1969 and an additional 2,219 unanimous cases from the same period.

Data Source:

published official reports of the United States Supreme Court

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:  

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