The Influence of Amicus Curiae Briefs on U.S. Supreme Court Opinion Content
32 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2013
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.
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