Supreme Court Elections and Tort Law Decisions

Herbert M. Kritzer

University of Minnesota Law School

July 8, 2014

Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-33

Research has shown that method of retention has direct and indirect impacts on state supreme court decision-making in death penalty cases and in abortion cases. This paper asks whether similar effects can be found for tort cases, an legal area that has been an important motivator for interest group participation in state supreme court elections. Using data on over 38,000 votes by justices on state courts of last resort compiled by the State Supreme Court Data Project, the analysis shows some possible effects, but those effects are contingent on (a) which side brings the appeal (plaintiff or defendant), and (b) how the interdependence among the votes is modeled. Because of these ambiguities, the results are at best suggestive that retention system may have some effect on how the justices decide tort law issues.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 22

Keywords: Judicial Behavior, State Supreme Court Elections

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Date posted: July 10, 2014  

Suggested Citation

Kritzer, Herbert M., Supreme Court Elections and Tort Law Decisions (July 8, 2014). Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 14-33. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2463918 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2463918

Contact Information

Herbert M. Kritzer (Contact Author)
University of Minnesota Law School ( email )
229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
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