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Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Do Justices Tip Their Hands with Questions at Oral Argument in the U.S. Supreme Court?

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, Vol. 29, 2009

51 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2009 Last revised: 21 May 2009

Timothy R. Johnson

University of Minnesota

Ryan C. Black

Michigan State University - Department of Political Science

Jerry Goldman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sarah Treul

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: April 6, 2009

Abstract

This paper tests whether Supreme Court justices tip their hands at oral arguments. Specifically, we test whether, when justices ask more questions of one side, that side is more likely to lose their case. The findings support the theory; namely, when justices ask more questions of the petitioner's attorney the Court is significantly less likely to reverse the lower court decision.

Suggested Citation

Johnson, Timothy R. and Black, Ryan C. and Goldman, Jerry and Treul, Sarah, Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Do Justices Tip Their Hands with Questions at Oral Argument in the U.S. Supreme Court? (April 6, 2009). Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, Vol. 29, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1373965

Timothy R. Johnson (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota ( email )

Department of Political Science
1414 Social Sciences, 267 19th Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455-0410
United States

Ryan C. Black

Michigan State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ryancblack.org

Jerry Goldman

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Sarah Treul

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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