The Role of Case Complexity in Judicial Decision Making

Posted: 23 Jun 2011

Date Written: March 4, 2011


The literature on ideology and decision making offers conflicting expectations about how judges’ ideology should affect their votes in cases that raise many legal issues. Using cases from the U.S. Courts of Appeals, I examine the strength of ideology as a predictor of sincere voting in single and multi-issue cases and test whether the same effect for ideology can be seen for liberal and conservative judges. For all judges, ideology yields a larger effect as the number of issues increases; however, conservative judges are much more likely than liberal judges to cast sincere votes at all levels of complexity.

Keywords: Judicial Behavior, U.S. Courts of Appeals, Ideology, Complexity, Judicial Decision Making, Legal Issues, Judges, Appellate Courts

Suggested Citation

Moyer, Laura P., The Role of Case Complexity in Judicial Decision Making (March 4, 2011). Available at SSRN:

Laura P. Moyer (Contact Author)

University of Louisville ( email )

Louisville, KY 40292
United States
502-852-3245 (Phone)

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