The Ideological Divide: Conflict and the Supreme Court’s Certiorari Decision

25 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2012 Last revised: 5 Feb 2013

Emily Grant

Washburn University School of Law

Scott A. Hendrickson

Creighton University

Michael S. Lynch

University of Kansas

Date Written: August 29, 2012

Abstract

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

Grant, Emily and Hendrickson, Scott A. and Lynch, Michael S., The Ideological Divide: Conflict and the Supreme Court’s Certiorari Decision (August 29, 2012). Cleveland State Law Review, Vol. 60, No. 3, p. 559, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2138211

Emily Grant (Contact Author)

Washburn University School of Law ( email )

1700 College Avenue
Topeka, KS 66621
United States

Scott A. Hendrickson

Creighton University ( email )

2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178
United States

Michael S. Lynch

University of Kansas ( email )

1415
Lawrence, KS 66045
United States

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