Susan Johnson

Professor Susan Johnson’s research focuses on judicial behavior in the United States and Canada.  In her recent book on the nature of judicial behavior in the Supreme Court of Canada, Johnson and her co-authors use qualitative and quantitative research strategies to examine judicial decision making and to show how a collegial court setting shapes these decisions. The authors critically examine the ideological tendencies of decision making using confidential interviews with the justices, analysis of their decisions from 1970 to 2005, and unique measures of the justices’ ideologies. Their findings strongly conclude that political ideology is a key factor in decision making and a prominent source of conflict in the Supreme Court of Canada.

“This is a methodologically sound, substantively interesting, and yet accessible volume. The book expands on earlier assessments of attitudinal decision making in Canada by applying a macro-level perspective of judicial decision-making rather than taking a micro-level look at specific subfields of law. It also expands on the methods of the earlier studies of the Court by the concurrent application of several methods to achieve a broader and yet more exact assessment of ideology’s role in judicial decisions making, offering a unique contribution to attitudinal literature.” –  Reza Barmaki, University of Toronto, Mississauga, Book review in Canadian Journal of Sociology, v37 (n4) (Fall 2012): 450(4).