Writing for Voters: How Electoral Competition Shapes Opinion Writing
33 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2017
Date Written: June 13, 2017
One of the most pressing questions in the study of state judicial politics concerns the extent to which electoral considerations color judicial voting behavior. The electoral institutions and environments in states vary both across time and states and create differing incentives for judges to cultivate a personal vote. Relying on Nelson’s measure of electoral competition in judicial elections, I examine the extent to which judges’ opinion-writing behavior — in terms of the decision to dissent and the readability of judicial opinions — is affected by ballot rules and electoral competition. The results have important implications for judicial reform efforts nationwide.
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