Strategic Judicial Preference Revelation
Bustos, Á., & Jacobi, T. (2014). Strategic judicial preference revelation. The Journal of Law and Economics, 57(1), 113-137.
43 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2012 Last revised: 21 Feb 2020
Date Written: March 22, 2012
We examine the revelation of preferences of justices whose true ideologies are not known at the moment of entering the Court but gradually become apparent through their judicial decisions. In the context of a two-period President-Senate-Court game – generalizing Moraski and Shipan (1999) – we show that: while moderate new justices always vote truthfully, more extreme new justices may vote disingenuously at the beginning of their tenures. By concealing their true ideologies, new justices move the perceived ideology of the overall Court closer to their ideally preferred outcome, which influences the selection of future justices. New justices will sometimes have an incentive to exaggerate the extremeness of their preferences, and at other times they will seek to appear more moderate. The manifestation of untruthful voting will depend on the characteristics of the cases, the initial ideologies of the justices, the President, and Senate, and the probabilities of retirement of the current justices.
JEL Classification: K10, K30, K40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation