Student Author(s)

Jackson Uyl, Hope College

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Rachel Spooner, Political Science

Document Type


Event Date



The judiciary of the United States makes thousands of decisions a year that directly affect the political landscape of the United States. When judges make decisions, they purportedly make their rulings based on the rule of law presented for a given case. Judges, however, are not without biases and can be prone to make rulings that have been cultivated by their political beliefs. This study focuses on the political decision making of state Supreme Court justices and examines how they make decisions that are potentially politically motivated in cases dealing with criminal rights and economic liberties. My research examines how judges are appointed to the bench in each state and their term limits to determine how these factors could influence a judge to make a decision more aligned with their political beliefs. I expect to find that judges with more job security will make more politically motivated decisions due to the lack of political accountability afforded to them. This will be significant in potentially leading to a total reevaluation of the nomination process of judges to state Supreme Courts.


Title on poster differs from abstract booklet. Poster title: Politically Motivated Decision Making in State Judiciaries