An Analysis of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Voting Patterns on the Free Exercise Clause of Religion

Carlin M. Bunting


The original writers of the Constitution did not intend for the Supreme Court to have much power in our government. The Supreme Court now reigns with the power to interpret the Constitution. Much controversy develops from the interpretation of civil liberties in the 1st Amendment and more so, on the Free Exercise of Religion clause. With personal subjects like religion, one must take into account the potential influences and bias in Supreme Court justices’ decisions. Scholars agree public opinion, party identification, presidential appointment, experience, and personal ideologies influence justice voting and decisions. My research focuses on presidential appointments, ideology, cohesive voting blocs on individual justice voting behavior. The importance of the credibility in the research is revealed when citizens elect a president for office, and members to the House of Representatives and the Senate. When citizens vote, they are indirectly voting for Supreme Court justices. Therefore, citizens elect people who are in control of interpreting if individual religious practices are lawful. On the whole, the research broadly stresses the significance of being informed voters because it is a way to continue keeping religion in the hands of the citizens of the United States.


U.S. Supreme Court; Voting; Religion

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