How to Effectively & Accurately Measure Judicial Activism: An Examination of Current Empirical Approaches

Document Type


Publication Date



Political Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Philip Kronebusch, Political Science


In this paper, I am investigating and analyzing the systems used by academics and legal scholars alike to evaluate and measure judicial activism. In my analysis I aim to present a comprehensive picture of how, exactly, judicial activism is measured, why scholars choose the variables they do to measure judicial activism, how they operationalize said variables, and what differences exist between alternate systems. After presenting this information via non-biased, empirical analysis, rather than employing a normative approach, I shall make my own determinations as to which systems, and which particular elements of those systems, are most effective and appropriate for measuring judicial activism. Finally, based on those conclusions I shall construct my own system for measuring judicial activism, one which I believe best quantifies a complex and controversial question facing American jurisprudence and public policymaking.