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Justice Worldview Paper Those who study judicial politics view the question of h

by | Jun 22, 2022 | Other


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Justice Worldview Paper
Those who study judicial politics view the question of how justices decide cases as the most
important topic. While they have explored some of the important influences on the justices’
decisions, others remain entirely unconsidered. This paper asks students to reflect on the
impact of worldview on the rulings that justices make.
This paper, then, is an opportunity for you to do original research. I recognize that most of you
have not written a research paper before. That’s fine. I’ve created a structure for you to follow.
It’s a little bit like paint-by-number. Scholars would consider this qualitative and not
quantitative research. Ideally, you would have a lot of data, but you don’t, so we’ll work with
what you do have—Justice William O. Douglas’ book Of Men and Mountains.
This should be a fun paper. It’s an experiment, and I hope that it works (but I’m not sure).
The question
How does worldview affect judicial decision making?
What is a worldview?
This can be a hard question to answer. It’s a system of beliefs—like ideology—but slightly
different. Psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and other social scientists think more
about it than political scientists. Let’s use this definition of worldview for this paper:
Worldviews are individuals’ perceptions with their relationship with the world. This includes
nature, institutions, other people and things (Sue 1978, 1971).
Dimensions of worldview
The concept of worldview is multidimensional. There are different aspects to it. Anthropologist
Clyde Kluckhorn (who studied the Navajo here in Arizona) gives five:
Human Nature
What is human nature?
1. Bad: Humans are evil.
2. Good and Bad: Humans are good and evil.
3. Good: Humans are good.
What is the modality of relationship?
1. Lineal-hierarchical: Individuals have different amounts of power. The social roles and
inequality persist over time.
2. Collateral-Mutual: Society acts in the collective rather than individual interest.
3. Individual: Individual goals are prioritized.
What is the relationship of people to nature?
1. Harmony: People and nature harmoniously coexist.
2. Subjugation and control: Humans control nature.
3. Power of Nature: Nature controls humans.
Time Orientation
What is the temporal focus?
1. The Past
2. The Present
3. The Future
Activity Orientation
What is the focus of human activity?
1. Being: Activities should be spontaneous and an expression of self.
2. Being-in-becoming: Activities should develop the person.
3. Doing: Activities should accomplish something that can be measured.
Before you start
Go through the readings from Of Men and Mountains. They can be those that I assigned or the
entire book. Highlight any passage that you think gives insight into Justice William O. Douglas’
worldview, especially those that you think address Kluckhorn’s five existential categories.
I’ve organized the paper into four sections.
Section I: Introduction and set up.
1. If you would like to include an abstract, that’s fine. It is not necessary.
2. You need to explain the motivation for the research, which is:
Those who study judicial politics have shown great interest in the decisions that
Supreme Court justices make. Nonetheless, little attention has been given to the impact
of worldviews on the decisions that the justices make. This paper is a first effort to
address this gap in the literature.
3. Briefly describe the existing accounts of how justices decide cases—the attitudinal,
strategic and legal models. Tell your readers that these models are important, but
worldview might also influence the justices.
4. Describe what worldview is and Kluckhorn’s existential categories.
5. Tell your readers that you will attempt to show the impact of worldview by examining
Justice William O. Douglas’ perspectives in Of Men and Mountains and then looking for
linkages in some of his important opinions.
Section II: What is William O. Douglas’ worldview?
1. Categorize Justice William O. Douglas worldview using Kluckhorn’s schema.
2. Do your best to support your choices with passages from the book.
3. Briefly summarize what you think his worldview is.
Section III: Impact on decision making.
1. Read one of Douglas’ opinions below:
a. Majority opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut
b. Dissent in Sierra Club v. Morton
c. Concurring opinion in Roe v.Wade
d. Majority opinion in Terminiello v. City of Chicago
e. Or any other of his opinions that you like.
2. What connections did you find between his worldview and the decision that you read?
Section IV: Conclusion and references
1. What conclusions have you drawn from your research?
2. Do you discoveries merit future research?
3. Be sure to list your references.
Technical criteria
This paper should be 5-10 pages in length with standard formatting. You should indent all
paragraphs. An abstract is optional.
Many students want a rubric. I will grade this paper as follows:
25% Quality of Writing and organization
• This includes spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure.
• Is the paper well organized?
• Is the paper formatted correctly, i.e., 11-or-12-point font, double spaced, etc.
• Are there transitions between the different sections of the paper?
• Is the writing clear?
• Did you organize your writing into paragraphs?
• Did you indent your paragraphs?
25% Strength of Argument
• Do your arguments make sense?
• Are your points compelling?
• Did you give good support for your positions from the readings?
• Did you find connections between worldview and the opinion that you selected?
• Do your categorization choices make sense?
40% Assignment
• Did you follow the directions correctly?
• Are all the required elements present?
• Did you put thought and effort into your paper?
10% Reference
• Does your assignment have a reference page?
• Did you pick a citation style and stick with it?
• Are there in-text citations?
• Are there enough in-text citations for the outside material that you included?
Some of these you will need for your paper.
I recommend using these references for support. You are free to reference any source that you
Attitudinal Model
Segal, J. A., & Cover, A. D. (1989). Ideological values and the votes of US Supreme Court
justices. American Political Science Review, 83(2), 557-565.
Strategic Model
Epstein, L., & Knight, J. (1997). The choices justices make. Sage.
Legal Model
Bailey, M. A., & Maltzman, F. (2008). Does legal doctrine matter? Unpacking law and
policy preferences on the US Supreme Court. American Political Science Review, 102(3),
Kluckhorn’s existential categories of worldview
Kluckhohn, C. (1956). Toward a comparison of value-emphases in different cultures. The
state of the social sciences, 116-132.
Kluckhohn, C. (2013). 2. Values and value-orientations in the
theory of action: An exploration in definition and classification.
In Toward a general theory of action (pp. 388-433). Harvard
University Press.
What is a Worldview?
Sue, D. W. (1978). World views and counseling. The Personnel and Guidance
Journal, 56(8), 458-462.


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