Politics and the Judiciary: The Influence of Judicial Background on Case Outcomes

26 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2015

See all articles by Orley Ashenfelter

Orley Ashenfelter

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell University, Law School (Deceased)

Stewart J. Schwab

Cornell Law School

Date Written: 1995

Abstract

It is widely believed that the background and worldview of judges influence their decisions. This article uses the fact that judges are assigned their cases randomly to assess the effect of judicial background on the outcome of cases from the day-to-day docket in three federal trial courts. Unlike the political science findings of ideological influence in published opinions, we find little evidence that judges differ in their decisions with respect to the mass of case outcomes. Characteristics of the judges or the political party of the judge's appointing president are not significant predictors of judicial decisions.

Keywords: Politics, Judiciary, judicial background

Suggested Citation

Ashenfelter, Orley C. and Eisenberg, Theodore and Schwab, Stewart Jon, Politics and the Judiciary: The Influence of Judicial Background on Case Outcomes (1995). Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2, 1995; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2706734

Orley C. Ashenfelter

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4040 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell University, Law School (Deceased) ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Stewart Jon Schwab (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
#108
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States
607.255.8584 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

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