Is There a Relationship Between Birth Order and Political Ideology?

Posted by George Butterfield on February 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

In a recent article in the Law & Society Review, Birth Order, Preferences, and Norms on the U.S. Supreme Court, Kevin McGuire assesses the influence of childhood birth order on the Justices’ later ideological preferences and approaches to jurisprudence. Looking back at the past fifty-five Justices (1900-2010), McGuire begins by finding a correlation between their political ideologies and birth order. His second finding, perhaps of greater interest to readers, is that birth order offers an explanation for the willingness of different Justices to use their judicial authority to effect policy change. A Justice who was a first or only child is more likely than other Justices to hold conservative political ideologies and is less willing to strike down legislation, even when he disagrees with the law. The reverse is true of Justices who were a middle or youngest child; these Justices tend to hold liberal political ideologies and more readily invoke judicial review.


Read the full article here.


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