Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=874165
 
 

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Congress and the political expansion of the U.S. districts courts


John M. De Figueiredo


Duke University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Gerald S. Gryski


Auburn University - Department of Political Science

Gary Zuk


Auburn University - Department of Political Science

Emerson H. Tiller


Northwestern University - School of Law


American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 107-125, 2000

Abstract:     
Expanding the number of U.S. district judgeships is often justified as a response to expanding caseloads. Increasing judgeships during unified government, however, allows Congress and the President to engage in political (patronage and ideological) control of the federal district courts. This paper examines empirically the relative importance of caseload pressure and political motives for Congress to expand the number of federal district judgeships. We demonstrate that politics dominates the timing of judgeship expansion in the U.S. District Courts. We also show that both politics and caseload affect the actual size of those timed expansions. In particular, we find that before 1970, Congress seemed to have strong political motivations for the size of an expansion. After 1970, Congress became much more attentive to caseload considerations.

Accepted Paper Series


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Date posted: February 29, 2008  

Suggested Citation

de Figueiredo, John M. and Gryski, Gerald S. and Zuk, Gary and Tiller, Emerson H., Congress and the political expansion of the U.S. districts courts. American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 107-125, 2000. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=874165

Contact Information

John M. De Figueiredo (Contact Author)
Duke University ( email )
100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Gerald S. Gryski (Contact Author)
Auburn University - Department of Political Science ( email )
Auburn, AL 36849
United States
(334) 844-5370 (Phone)
Gary Zuk (Contact Author)
Auburn University - Department of Political Science ( email )
Auburn, AL 36849
United States
(334) 844-5370 (Phone)
Emerson H. Tiller
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
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