Document Type



Justice Studies Program

Rights Management

Rhode Island College


Prior research on federal court judges suggests that their judgments are not made solely on legal principles, but on the basis of political ideology and “strategic anticipation” of the actions of reviewing courts. This study seeks to empirically test the role these factors play in Federal District Court decisions involving the U.S.A. Patriot Act of 2001. The results indicate that both political policy preference and strategic anticipation have an effect on the judicial decisions of U.S. District Court judges. Due to statistical complications, however, it was not possible to determine their relative effects on the outcomes of Patriot Act cases.