Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Judicial activism in American government : a study of the role philosophies of Supreme Court justices George Sutherland and William O. Douglas
Author: McKeever, Robert J.
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 1978
Availability of Full Text:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Restricted access.
Please contact the current institution’s library for further details.
The aim of this thesis is to formulate a concept of judicial activism which may be used in the analysis of United States Supreme Court decisions. Because the methodology employed here departs radically from the behaviouralist approach which has dominated judicial research for the past twenty years, Chapter One offers a critique of judicial behaviouralism. The critique seeks to demonstrate that not only are the behaviouralists wrong in their assumption that Supreme Court Justices are motivated solely by political policy predilection, but that their means of ''proving" that assumption - unidimensional scalogram analysis - is circular. Chapter Two outlines the methodology employed here, which is based on two major assumptions. Firstly, that Supreme Court Justices are motivated by a variety of factors, one of which may be their consciousness of their somewhat anomalous role in a democracy. Secondly, that this consciousness or lack of it, will be revealed by close, critical analysis of their judicial opinions. Far from accepting the behaviouralist view that opinions are mere camouflage and that only the bare votes of the Justices are reliable evidence, it is held here that opinions are the most fecund source of information about judicial decisions. Chapter Three and Four contain the analyses of the opinions of Justices George Sutherland and William 0. Douglas, respectively. These Justices were chosen because both are considered to be extreme activists and yet their political views and the subject of the legis­lation with which they were concerned were completely different. The analyses reveal that both men possessed a coherent judicial philosophy which may be labelled activist. Chapter Five compares these two philosophies and finds that they were very similar.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: E11 America (General)