This study provides qualitative and quantitative evidence supporting the premise that the court of venue where a case is tried (Dependent Variable) strongly affects the number of religious references used by the judges in their published opinion (Independent Variable). The data set is from a content analysis of 15 lower court cases and their 15 corresponding Supreme Cases. I find that the US Supreme Court is far more likely to use religious and moralistic references than any lower court. This evidence is used to support the idea that a significant quantity of lower court judges do not vote solely on their ideology (the so-called attitudinal model), but instead consider a variety of judicial pressures and influences before making their rulings (the so-called strategic model). In closing, I explore the potential policy implications that these findings invite.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/bradenwj/9/