Olga is a registered PRINCE2 Practitioner and has a master's degree in project management.
The Attitudinal Model
Judicial decision-making models aim to explain and predict the behavior of the courts. Three main models of the judicial decision-making exist: attitudinal, strategic, and legal. The attitudinal model assumes that the decisions are made by a judge based on the case facts against his sincere attitudes and values. The ideological views of the judge and his policy preferences can have more effect on his decision-making than the law. As the result, the decisions of two liberal judges will follow a similar pattern, while there will be a significant difference in the behavior and rulings of a liberal and a conservative. The attitudes of a judge are shaped by his experience and environment. By determining the values of a given judge and his preferences, his ruling on certain matters can be predicted by the model.
The attitudinal judicial decision-making is particularly likely in case of strongly politically-charged issues. A famous Bush v. Gore case during 2000 presidential election is a great example of this: the four most liberal justices of the Supreme Court supported the Gore position, while the five most conservative justices ruled the case in Bush's favor. The justices' political views clearly impacted their decisions.
While the combination of the decision-maker's preferences and the facts undoubtedly help to predict the outcome of the case, the model is criticized because the degree to which the final decision will depend on the personal preferences is unknown and varies from case to case. The degree to which the attitudes of the decision-maker can remain sincere is also frequently questioned.
Goals, Rules, and Situations
The decision will depend on the goals of the decision-maker, the rules he has to follow, and the situation that he is in. Driven by his goals, among all alternatives, the decision-maker will pick the one that yields him the biggest benefit. Most often the attitudinal model is studied in the context of the US Supreme Court, which is concerned with policy goals.
The rules the decision-maker has to follow usually include both formal and informal norms, and any decision-making protocol he has to follow. The degree to which the organization encourages or objects to decision-making based on attitudes will influence the use of the approach by the decision-makers. An example of the organization favoring the attitudinal approach is the Supreme Court, which benefits from its position at the top of judicial hierarchy, has no electoral and political accountability, and controls its docket, meaning that the preferences of the judges can affect the cases that the court takes on.
Finally, not all situations the decision-maker encounters allow for the unconditional execution of personal preferences and ignorance of the rules. Naturally, there will be certain settings in which the decision-maker will have more freedom--this is when the attitudinal model will prevail. In the Supreme Court setting, these situations are the decisions on the merits--the cases based on evidence rather than technical grounds.
The attitudinal model of judicial decision-making explains the case decisions through the interplay of the case facts and the attitudes and values of a judge. Goals, rules, and situations will each shape the decision by influencing the degree to which the decision-maker will employ the attitudinal model. Specific cases, such as the decisions on the merits, favor the use of this approach more than the others.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
Register to view this lesson
Unlock Your Education
See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com
Become a Study.com member and start learning now.Become a Member
Already a member? Log InBack