Univocality vs. Multivocality: an Empirical Analysis of Judicial Behavior on Israel’s Supreme Court

Judicial behavior on collegial courts reflects a complex set of personal, ideological, strategic, and institutional considerations, incentives, and interests. The paper presents the results of a novel empirical research of all enlarged panel decisions of the Israeli Supreme Court between 1948-2021. We coded the individual votes of each of the justices on all 476 panels for agreement/concurrence/dissent, as well as the word length of each individual judicial opinion, as a proxy for the amount of judicial investment and degree of agreement or disagreement with other justices’ opinions. The results reveal periods of multivocality and univocality on the Court, changes in agreement characteristics along diverse axes, exceptional judicial figures, and focal legal issues. These findings shed light on a host of questions in judicial behavior, panel dynamics, and Israeli judicial politics, and inform the debate on the role of internal vs. external determinants of judicial behavior.