Ideological bias in constitutional judgments: Experimental analysis and potential solutions

Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko*, Jarosław Kantorowicz, Keren Weinshall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Despite the importance and neutrality of constitutional rights, empirical research suggests that ideological inclinations unduly affect their assessment and application. In this study, we conducted two experiments in order to investigate the nature of the ideological bias in a constitutionally relevant decision (right-to-demonstration), and how to mitigate it. We find that ideological bias is driven by in-group favoritism. In addition, we find that prior commitment, through a signed declaration, to be impartial or to prioritize constitutional rights encourages participants not to disfavor out-groups. On the other hand, we do not find evidence that using a temporary blinding procedure mitigates the ideological bias.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-757
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Empirical Legal Studies
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research for this article was undertaken as part of the “Proportionality in Public Policy” project at the Israel Democracy Institute, with support from the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013), ERC grant no. 324182.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies published by Cornell Law School and Wiley Periodicals LLC.

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