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Winners and Losers in Appellate Court Outcomes: A Comparative Perspective

41 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2013  

Reginald Sheehan

Michigan State University - Department of Political Science

Stacia Haynie

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

Kirk A. Randazzo

University of South Carolina

Donald R. Songer

University of South Carolina

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

The question of who wins and loses in appellate courts may be the most important question we seek to answer as judicial scholars. In fact, "Who gets what ?" has traditionally been viewed as the central question in the study of politics generally. Therefore, understanding who wins in the courts is an essential component of a full appreciation of "the authoritative allocation of values" in society (Easton 1953). In this paper we examine the relationship between the status of litigants, especially the comparison of repeat player "haves" (RP) to one-shotters (OS) who are usually "have-nots," and their rates of success in top appellate courts in the common law world. A number of prior studies employing what is generally referred to as "party capability theory" have examined how the resources and litigation experience of litigants affect their chances for success. Using data from the highest courts of appeals across six countries we explore winners and losers in a comparative context. The results indicate that there is greater variation in who wins and who loses than party capability theory would suggest.

Keywords: party capability, comparative, judicial

Suggested Citation

Sheehan, Reginald and Haynie, Stacia and Randazzo, Kirk A. and Songer, Donald R., Winners and Losers in Appellate Court Outcomes: A Comparative Perspective (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2300530

Reginald Sheehan (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Stacia Haynie

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge ( email )

Kirk A. Randazzo

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States
803-777-6795 (Phone)
803-777-8255 (Fax)

Donald R. Songer

University of South Carolina ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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