Preemption in the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts: An Empirical Analysis

42 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2015 Last revised: 15 Dec 2016

See all articles by Michael Greve

Michael Greve

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty; American Enterprise Institute (AEI)

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Michael A. Petrino

Kirkland & Ellis

J.P. Sevilla

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School, Students/Alumni

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

This article presents an empirical analysis of the Rehnquist Court’s and the Roberts Court’s decisions on the federal (statutory) preemption of state law. In addition to raw outcomes for or against preemption, we examine cases by subject-matter, level of judicial consensus, tort versus regulatory preemption, party constellation, and origin in state or federal court. We present additional data and analysis on the role of state amici and of the U.S. Solicitor General in preemption cases, and we examine individual justices’ voting records. Among our findings, one stands out: over time and especially under the Roberts Court, lawyerly preemption questions have assumed a distinctly ideological flavor. Preemption cases are much more likely to be contested than they were in earlier decades; and in those cases, once-rare judicial bloc voting has become common.

Keywords: administrative law, bloc voting, empirical analysis, federal courts, ideology, judicial consensus, judicial decisionmaking, preemption, Roberts Court, Solicitor General, state amicus briefs, Supreme Court, torts, Wyeth v. Levine

JEL Classification: D72, K13, K23, K31, K32

Suggested Citation

Greve, Michael and Klick, Jonathan and Petrino, Michael A. and Sevilla, J.P., Preemption in the Rehnquist and Roberts Courts: An Empirical Analysis (2015). Supreme Court Economic Review, Vol. 23, No. 353, 2015; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 15-05; U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 15-6. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2567878 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2567878

Michael Greve (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
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American Enterprise Institute (AEI) ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
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Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
2157463455 (Phone)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

Michael A. Petrino

Kirkland & Ellis ( email )

200 East Randolph Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

J.P. Sevilla

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School, Students/Alumni ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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