The Effect of War on the U.S. Federal Courts of Appeals: an Analysis of U.S. Appeals Court Treatment of War Related Cases

Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 21 Aug 2009

Susanne Schorpp

University of South Carolina

Donald R. Songer

University of South Carolina

Tajuana Massie

South Carolina State University

Rebekkah Boxt

University of South Carolina

Mary L. McDonald

University of South Carolina

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

How is judicial decisionmaking in the United States affected by the presence of war? To contribute to this question we analyzed changes in U.S. Courts of Appeals decisions during times of war and peace, bridging current analyses by assessing the influence of war on the outcome of civil rights cases and criminal rights cases and on war related cases only. Going beyond the sample database to identify cases related to the wars in question and using a measure that captures the intensity of war, we show that the courts are not immune to the changed circumstances during times of war and that judges on the U.S. Courts of Appeals tend to vote more conservatively in times of war and with increased intensity of war. These influences are even more pronounced in cases related to war and while war appears to produce changes in judicial behavior in non-trivial ways.

Suggested Citation

Schorpp, Susanne and Songer, Donald R. and Massie, Tajuana and Boxt, Rebekkah and McDonald, Mary L., The Effect of War on the U.S. Federal Courts of Appeals: an Analysis of U.S. Appeals Court Treatment of War Related Cases (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1450843

Susanne Schorpp (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Donald R. Songer

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Tajuana Massie

South Carolina State University ( email )

300 College Street NE
Orangeburg, SC 29117
United States

Rebekkah Boxt

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Mary L. McDonald

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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