This article examines state supreme court implementation of Supreme Court precedent when deciding cases challenging state legislation. While previous research provides a wealth of insight into how state contextual and institutional features constrain state court decisionmaking and how lower courts respond to Supreme Court precedent, very little research explicitly examines state court decisionmaking when both constraints are present. By integrating the findings of previous research, I develop and test hypotheses about the effect of these different actors on state court decisionmaking. The results show that state courts are indeed constrained by both state and federal actors. The results also suggest that there may be instances where policies are so salient to both state actors and to the U.S. Supreme Court that the influence of the state court's own policy preferences may be minimal. The findings provide important evidence about the importance of competing constraints on state supreme court decisionmaking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science