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Structure Matters: The Impact of Court Structure on the Indian and U.S. Supreme Courts

38 Pages Posted: 17 May 2012 Last revised: 29 Aug 2012

Nick Robinson

Yale Law School; Harvard Law School, Program on the Legal Profession; Center for Policy Research (India)

Date Written: May 16, 2012

Abstract

The United States Supreme Court sits as a unified bench of nine justices. The Indian Supreme Court sits in panels, and can have up to thirty-one judges. This article uses the divergent structures of the U.S. and Indian Supreme Courts to explore how specific court structures are adopted to promote different values or understandings of what a supreme court should be. It analyzes how structure impacts: (1) access to these courts; (2) the cohesiveness of the doctrine they produce; (3) inter-judge relations; and (4) perceptions about these courts, including perceived politicization. It argues a comparative analysis of court structure can challenge common assumptions about the ideal role of a court, as well as aid in judicial institutional design and reform. Such an analysis helps make explicit how law is permeated by the structure of the courts that interpret it.

Keywords: India Supreme Court, United States Supreme Court, Institutional Design, Court Structure, Comparative Law, General, Comparative

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Nick, Structure Matters: The Impact of Court Structure on the Indian and U.S. Supreme Courts (May 16, 2012). American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 61, No. 1, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2061061

Nick Robinson (Contact Author)

Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

Harvard Law School, Program on the Legal Profession ( email )

1563 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Center for Policy Research (India) ( email )

Dharma Marg
Chanakyapuri
New Delhi, 110022
India

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