Supreme Court Justices’ Loyalty to the President

32 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2015  

Lee Epstein

Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: December 10, 2015

Abstract

A statistical analysis of voting by Supreme Court justices from 1937-2014 provides evidence of a “loyalty effect” — justices more frequently vote for the government when the president who appointed them is in office than when subsequent presidents lead the government. This effect exists even when subsequent presidents are of the same party as the justices in question. However, the loyalty effect is much stronger for Democratic justices than for Republican justices. This may be because Republican presidents are more ideologically committed than Democratic justices are, leaving less room for demonstrations of loyalty.

Keywords: Judicial decisionmaking, separation of powers & judicial independence, law & economics public law, empirical studies (law & politics), the judiciary & judicial process, structure of government & separation of powers, law & psychology

Suggested Citation

Epstein, Lee and Posner, Eric A., Supreme Court Justices’ Loyalty to the President (December 10, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702144 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2702144

Lee Epstein

Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

HOME PAGE: http://epstein.wustl.edu

Eric A. Posner (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-0425 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/posner-e/

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