Judicial Agenda Setting Through Signaling and Strategic Litigant Responses

25 Pages Posted: 4 May 2010 Last revised: 11 May 2010

See all articles by Vanessa Anne Baird

Vanessa Anne Baird

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Political Science

Tonja Jacobi

Emory University School of Law

Date Written: May 4, 2010

Abstract

We show that when justices hand down decisions that provide signals – indications of their priorities and preferences – policy entrepreneurs bring well crafted cases in those policy areas, resulting in a transformation of the Supreme Court’s agenda. The implications are twofold: 1) Supreme Court justices can summon cases onto their agenda, well before the certiorari process begins, by informally communicating their priorities and preferences to potential litigants, and 2) Supreme Court justices are dependent on extrajudicial actors for access to a sufficient number of well framed cases to make comprehensive policy in areas that they consider priorities.

Keywords: Supreme Court, Signalling, Agenda Setting, Litigants, Certiorari

JEL Classification: K1, K10, K40

Suggested Citation

Baird, Vanessa Anne and Jacobi, Tonja, Judicial Agenda Setting Through Signaling and Strategic Litigant Responses (May 4, 2010). Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 29, 2009, Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 10-18, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1600396

Vanessa Anne Baird

University of Colorado at Boulder - Department of Political Science ( email )

333 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0333
United States

Tonja Jacobi (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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