The pendulum of precedent: U.S. state legislative response to supreme court decisions on minimum wage legislation for women

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Abstract

The impact of U.S. Supreme Court decisions is contingent on the willingness of other political actors to implement those decisions. One important group of implementers is the U.S. state legislatures. However, in the pursuit of policy, state legislators must consider multiple goals when choosing among alternative policy options. In addition to considering the likelihood of review by state high courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, state legislators have their own ideas about good policy and must also face reelection. When are legislators likely to follow precedent and when are they likely to ignore it in pursuit of these other goals? In this article, I examine the enactment of state minimum wage legislation for women in the first half of the twentieth century. The results show that even after controlling for legislative and constituent preferences, legislators heed the preferences of the U.S. Supreme Court - but not necessarily their own high courts - when deciding to pass minimum wage legislation. The results point to the need for scholars of state politics to pay greater attention to the role of judicial actors when studying policy adoption and legislative behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-283
Number of pages27
JournalState Politics and Policy Quarterly
Volume9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009

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minimum wage
court decision
Supreme Court
legislation
political actor
twentieth century
politics
Wages
Legislation
Legislators
Pendulum
Group
U.S. Supreme Court
Pursuit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

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abstract = "The impact of U.S. Supreme Court decisions is contingent on the willingness of other political actors to implement those decisions. One important group of implementers is the U.S. state legislatures. However, in the pursuit of policy, state legislators must consider multiple goals when choosing among alternative policy options. In addition to considering the likelihood of review by state high courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, state legislators have their own ideas about good policy and must also face reelection. When are legislators likely to follow precedent and when are they likely to ignore it in pursuit of these other goals? In this article, I examine the enactment of state minimum wage legislation for women in the first half of the twentieth century. The results show that even after controlling for legislative and constituent preferences, legislators heed the preferences of the U.S. Supreme Court - but not necessarily their own high courts - when deciding to pass minimum wage legislation. The results point to the need for scholars of state politics to pay greater attention to the role of judicial actors when studying policy adoption and legislative behavior.",
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