Pluralism and Liberalism in Supreme Court Decisions-
Longitudinal and Quantitative Analysis
Presentation at the 13 th Conference of the
International Society for Justice Research (ISJR) Banff,
Rights and Equality in the Global Community
Faculty of management, Tel-Aviv University
School of Business and Economy, Academic College of Tel-Aviv(*)
Decision –making is the main task of judges at any level, certainly at the supreme court where precedents are set for the entire judicial system. Classical legal research is based on verbal comparison of legal texts, and offers significant insights but does not offer tools for objective research, comparison and segmentation of court decisions.
A previous empirical research by the author and colleagues yielded interesting results regarding Supreme –Court decisions published during its first 44 years. Results referred to formal aspects of courts verdicts, reference patterns of the judges, discourse and consent, pluralism within decision process and liberalism of the supreme court when judging conflicts between individual and public authorities.
The next decade, with the presidency of the highly dominant and controversial Judge Aharon Barak called for a further empirical research to explore both formal and cardinal aspects in supreme –court –decisions during his presidency.
Findings show that while pluralism, previously subject to vast criticism due to its extreme low levels, has greatly improved at the beginning of said decade but eventually decreased to similar past low levels.
Despite high expectations, no significant changes have been detected in level of liberalism in supreme–court-decisions, apart for some for specific combinations of parties and legal fields.
Interesting findings regarding court's attitude to minorities are discussed.
(*) Research was fully funded by the Internal research Fund of the Academic College of Tel-Aviv