The Influence of Amicus Curiae Briefs on U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Content

32 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2013  

Pamela Corley

Southern Methodist University (SMU)

Paul M. Collins Jr.

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science

Jesse Hamner

University of North Texas

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Corley, Pamela and Collins, Paul M. and Hamner, Jesse, The Influence of Amicus Curiae Briefs on U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Content (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2300505

Pamela Corley (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) ( email )

6212 Bishop Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Paul M. Collins Jr.

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Department of Political Science ( email )

Thompson Hall
Amherst, MA 01003
United States

Jesse Hamner

University of North Texas ( email )

1155 Union Circle #305340
No Address Available

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