The Red-Blue Divide on the Bench: An Examination of the Effects of Selection Systems on Partisan Divisions in State Supreme Court Decisions
Aman Liev McLeod
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers University, Camden
3rd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Papers
This study explores at a very basic level how the partisan behavior of judges manifests itself on courts that use different judicial selection systems. Specifically, it examines how different reselection systems affect judges' propensity to form partisan coalitions in criminal cases, by looking at the voting habits of the justices on several state supreme courts over five years. The evidence indicates that partisan elections appear to promote the appearance of party line divisions, while systems that require judges to be reappointed have no effect on the incidence of party line votes. The evidence also indicates that although retention elections do not appear to have any significant effect on the incidence of party line votes, and that nonpartisan elections actually tend to decrease the incidence of party line votes.
Keywords: elections, judges,political parties,judicial behavior,criminal law, state courts,criminal procedure
JEL Classification: K42working papers series
Date posted: April 25, 2008
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