33 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 10 Mar 2010
Date Written: September 5, 2009
We employ never before used archival data to provide the rst, systematic examination of the conditions under which federal circuit court judges craft legal opinions. We undertake this analysis in the context of judges' responses to opinion drafts. We examine every private record maintained by former D.C. Circuit Judge J. Skelly Wright (1962-1988), which yields nearly five thousand observations across roughly 2500 cases. Our results provide strong support for ideological, contextual, and institutional components to the development of law and the distribution of policy benefits. Judges are more likely to try to alter the majority opinion the more ideologically distant they are from the opinion writer. At the same time, contextual factors and institutional dynamics influence the responses judges provide. Law evolves, then, as a result of judges seeking their personal policy goals, tempered by the immediate constraints of their office.
Keywords: strategic decision making, bargaining, circuit courts
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Owens, Ryan J. and Black, Ryan C., Strategic Bargaining on the United States Courts of Appeals (September 5, 2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1452354