The Influence of Amicus Curiae Briefs on U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Content
Southern Methodist University (SMU)
Paul M. Collins Jr.
University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science
University of North Texas
APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper
American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting
Scholars have dedicated substantial research efforts to investigating whether interest group amicus curiae briefs influence the behavior of Supreme Court justices. Despite this, there has been little systematic attention devoted to exploring what is arguably the most important aspect of the Court’s policy outputs – its majority opinions. We remedy this state of affairs by using plagiarism detection software to assess the ability of amicus briefs to shape the content of judicial opinions. Our findings indicate that the justices incorporate language from amicus briefs into their opinions based primarily on the extent to which amicus briefs contribute to their ability to make effective law and policy. These results add fresh insight into how interest groups influence the development of federal law by the Supreme Court.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Date posted: August 8, 2013