Judicial Independence: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

32 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2010 Last revised: 22 Oct 2010

See all articles by Scott E. Graves

Scott E. Graves

National Center for State Courts

Pamela C. Corley

Vanderbilt University

Robert M. Howard

Georgia State University

Date Written: July 16, 2010


In this paper, we directly test the presence of judicial independence by examining judicial recess appointees who have later been confirmed by the Senate to full time Article III judicial positions. Specifically, we compare the votes of recess appointed Courts of Appeals judges during their temporary appointment tenure with a similar period following Senate confirmation. We find substantial differences in pre- and post-confirmation voting, confirming that the structural protections of the Constitution provide judges a certain amount of independence.

Suggested Citation

Graves, Scott E. and Corley, Pamela C. and Howard, Robert Matthew, Judicial Independence: Evidence from a Natural Experiment (July 16, 2010). 5th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1641471 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1641471

Scott E. Graves

National Center for State Courts ( email )

300 Newport Ave.
Williamsburg, VA 23185
United States

Pamela C. Corley (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

Robert Matthew Howard

Georgia State University ( email )

38 Peachtree Center Avenue
Suite 1005
Atlanta, GA 30303-4069
United States
404-413-6163 (Phone)
404-413-6156 (Fax)

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