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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The institutionalization of state supreme courts
by Savchak, Elisha Carol, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 2009, 202; 3366985
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this research is to investigate the institutional development of American state supreme courts in order to understand how they have developed into influential institutions. The institutionalization process is fundamental because it can determine whether courts are influential and legitimate within their political environments. By utilizing several variables of institutional characteristics in 17 state supreme courts, I develop an index of judicial institutionalization that allows for comparison between courts during the years 1940 to 2005. Meanwhile, I hypothesize that judicial institutionalization in the states is determined by exogenous events and actors that spur state legislatures to make formal institutional changes to the courts. And, I hypothesize that judicial decisions of more institutionalized supreme courts will be cited more often by their counterparts. The results show that the judicial institutionalization process is a complicated one, much like in the other governmental branches, influenced mostly by state resources, while citation rates are a direct consequence of institutionalization.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Songer, Donald R.
Commitee: Hansford, Thomas G., Randazzo, Kirk, Walker, Lee
School: University of South Carolina
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- South Carolina
Source: DAI-A 70/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science
Keywords: Institutionalization, Judicial politics, State politics, State supreme courts, Supreme courts
Publication Number: 3366985
ISBN: 978-1-109-28937-4
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