Open Access

Values and Valuations in Judicial Discourse. A Corpus-Assisted Study of (Dis)Respect in US Supreme Court Decisions on Same-Sex Marriage


This paper investigates the role of (DIS)RESPECT a value premise in two landmark civil rights cases given by the United States Supreme Court. It adopts a corpus-assisted approach whereby a keyword analysis and the analysis of key semantic domains are used to identify potential values relied upon by judges in their justifications. The two categories of NO RESPECT and RESPECTED have been selected and examined as one domain of (DIS)RESPECT. (DIS)RESPECT turns out to be the only value marked by strong evaluative polarity and it is found in the majority, as well as in dissenting opinions. The analysis shows how the notion of (DIS)RESPECT has been integrated into the arguments of judges and it highlights the central importance of values and the related evaluative language for legal argumentation.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Philosophy, other