Why Judges Always Vote

2 Revista Forumul Judecătorilor 80 (2013)

Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 14-29

25 Pages Posted: 23 May 2014 Last revised: 6 Jul 2014

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 1, 2013


This paper provides the first account of the practice of universal voting on the Supreme Court. Full participation among justices is explained using models of spatial competition, showing that two features particular to the Court encourage full participation. First, the doctrine of stare decisis makes the resolution of future cases in part dependent on the resolution of present ones. This raises the cost of abstention, particularly to risk-averse justices. Second, the so-called narrowest grounds or Marks doctrine enforces the logic of the median voter theorem in cases presenting more than two options. This makes voting by otherwise indifferent or alienated justices rational, where it otherwise would not be.

Keywords: courts, judges, voting, median voter, abstention

Suggested Citation

Jacobi, Tonja and Kontorovich, Eugene, Why Judges Always Vote (November 1, 2013). 2 Revista Forumul Judecătorilor 80 (2013); Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 14-29. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2439770

Tonja Jacobi

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

Eugene Kontorovich (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8151 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.gmu.edu/faculty/directory/fulltime/kontorovich_eugene

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