The Ideological Divide: Conflict and the Supreme Court’s Certiorari Decision
25 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2012 Last revised: 5 Feb 2013
Date Written: August 29, 2012
This Article bridges a gap in existing literature by evaluating, from an empirical perspective, the impact of conflict among the lower courts on the Supreme Court’s decision to grant or deny a petition for a writ of certiorari. Specifically, this Article looks at the political ideology of the lower courts involved in a split of authority on federal law and compares those positions to the political ideology of the Supreme Court itself. This Article concludes that the ideological content of lower court opinions in a conflict case impacts the Supreme Court’s certiorari decisions in a statistically significant way, and thus sheds new light on the role lower court conflict plays in whether the Supreme Court’s exercise of its discretion to grant cert.
Keywords: court, ideology, certiorari, empirical methods, circuit splits, conflict
JEL Classification: K19, K30, K39, K40, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation