Competition in State Supreme Court Elections, 1946-2009
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Forthcoming
31 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2010 Last revised: 26 Sep 2010
Date Written: September 26, 2010
There has been much debate over changes in state supreme court elections. However, most of the research that debate refers to considers a relatively short time span. This paper reports an analysis of contestation and competitiveness in state supreme elections for the entire post-World War II period. The paper considers both primary and general elections (other than retention elections). The central finding of the paper is that outside the South there has in fact been surprising little change, either in whether incumbents are challenged for reelection or in the competitiveness of the elections that are contested (looking separately at open seat elections and elections involving incumbents). The analysis suggests that the apparent increase in contestation and competitiveness reflects factors other than changes to the nature of campaigns and expenditures on state supreme court elections; specifically, those changes are largely a product of the end of the one-party South.
Keywords: State Supreme Court Elections
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation