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63 Alb. L. Rev. 1205 (1999-2000)
Gender, Race, and Partisanship on the Michigan Supreme Court

handle is hein.journals/albany63 and id is 1217 raw text is: GENDER, RACE, AND PARTISANSHIP ON THE
Elaine Martin*
Barry Pyle**
Judicial research has increasingly focused on the importance of
state supreme courts as players in policy-making. If only because of
the large volume of cases that they hear each year, state courts of last
resort exert a tremendous influence. State supreme courts have come
to the attention of judicial scholars recently because of a trend called
the new judicial federalism in which civil rights litigants, facing the
increasing conservatism of the Supreme Court, have made a strategic
shift to state courts.' In 1986, United States Supreme Court Justice
William    H. Brennan      Jr. wrote    that the '[r]ediscovery      by  state
supreme courts of the broader protections afforded their own citizens
by their state constitutions . . . is probably the most important
development in constitutional jurisprudence in our time.'2 A number
of scholars have tracked the new judicial federalism, focusing on the
policy development potential of state supreme courts.3 State supreme
* Professor of Political Science, Eastern Michigan University. B.A. Urban Studies, University
of Oklahoma, 1964; M.P.A., University of Oklahoma, 1971; M.A., Political Science, University of
Oklahoma, 1977; Ph.D., Political Science, University of Oklahoma, 1977.
** Assistant Professor of Political Science, Eastern Michigan University. B.A., Indiana
University, 1988; M.A., University of Missouri-St. Louis, 1995; Ph.D., University of Missouri-St.
Louis, expected 2000.
(1987) (noting that the 'new judicial federalism,' a movement toward resorting to provisions in
state constitutions to uphold individual's rights, was a reaction to the conservative posture of the
United States Supreme Court in the mid-1970s).
2 G. ALAN TARR, UNDERSTANDING STATE CONSTITUTIONS 165 (1998) (quoting Justice William
H. Brennan Jr.) (supporting Justice Brennan's claim by tracking an increasing propensity of state
supreme courts to rely on state guarantees of civil rights in order to protect their citizens).
See id. at 165-67 (discussing the scope and impact of the new judicial federalism and noting
in the last 25 years, state courts have undertaken major initiatives involving school finance,
exclusionary zoning, the rights of defendants, and the right to privacy); see also LAWRENCE
BAUM, AMERICAN COURTS: PROCESS AND POLICY 318 (1998) (discussing the increase of activism
in state supreme courts with the most striking example being in the area of school funding); FINO,


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