By Anna Harvey
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Extra info for A Mere Machine: The Supreme Court, Congress, and American Democracy
Subjectively coded measures are susceptible to contamination from coders’ prior expectations. In particular, in the context of widespread beliefs in the Court’s independence, we might see subjectively coded judgment measures reﬂecting coders’ expectations about the kinds of judgments that might generally issue from more liberal and more conservative courts, under the assumption of independence from elected branch preferences. These measures might then understate the magnitude of the Court’s deference to those preferences.
Far from being a threat to economic and political rights, such majorities generally prefer more robust rights protections. In the words of political scientist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and his colleagues, “Whatever else is found in the basket of public goods provided by government, the beneﬁts of civil liberties [and] political rights . . ”66 By contrast, when political leaders are not held accountable to electoral majorities, we ﬁnd few protections for economic and political rights. The fewer supporters a political leader requires in order to survive in ofﬁce, the less extensive are the rights protections provided to that country’s citizens.
66 By contrast, when political leaders are not held accountable to electoral majorities, we ﬁnd few protections for economic and political rights. The fewer supporters a political leader requires in order to survive in ofﬁce, the less extensive are the rights protections provided to that country’s citizens. What then is the mechanism by which unaccountable, independent judges are thought to be incentivized to provide rights protections superior to those provided by judges accountable to electoral majorities?