Empirically evaluating the countermajoritarian difficulty: Public opinion, state policy, and judicial review before Roe V. Wade

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Abstract

I conduct a quantitative evaluation of the “countermajoritarian difficulty” by examining the relationship between public opinion, state policy, and judicial review in constitutional challenges to state abortion statutes in the period before Roe v. Wade. I find that state and lower federal court judges tended to invalidate statutes in states with high levels of public support for moving policy away from the status quo, and judges did not strike down statutes in states where majorities firmly supported the status quo. These results suggest the importance of creating a role for state and lower federal courts in evaluating the countermajoritarian difficulty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-42
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Law and Courts
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law

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