Raising the Bar: Elite Advocacy in Supreme Court Public Interest Litigation

43 Pages Posted: 6 May 2009 Last revised: 29 Nov 2009

See all articles by Matthew Reid Krell

Matthew Reid Krell

University of Alabama - Department of Political Science

Date Written: May 4, 2009

Abstract

Highly experienced Supreme Court advocates are frequently believed to be influential in argument before the Court in a way that far outstrips the run-of-the-mill advocate. This paper tests that hypothesis with regard to a particular subset of "public law" or "public interest" cases. It finds that highly experienced advocates have become an enormous influence on the Court's public law cases, and offers a game-theoretic rationale for this influence - that the use of highly-experienced counsel serves as a "signal" to the Court that the preferable result is the one that the advocate is pushing. It also examines the effect on civil rights law (as a case study) that the Supreme Court Bar, as they're called, has, and proposes some possible solutions.

Keywords: Judicial Process, Supreme Court, Supreme Court Bar, Advocacy, Litigation

JEL Classification: K41, D74, D72

Suggested Citation

Krell, Matthew Reid, Raising the Bar: Elite Advocacy in Supreme Court Public Interest Litigation (May 4, 2009). Journal of the Legal Profession, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1399065

Matthew Reid Krell (Contact Author)

University of Alabama - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 870213
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0213
United States

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