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Writing for Voters: How Electoral Competition Shapes Opinion Writing

33 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2017  

Michael J. Nelson

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: June 13, 2017

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Nelson, Michael J., Writing for Voters: How Electoral Competition Shapes Opinion Writing (June 13, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2985565

Michael J. Nelson (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

University Park, State College, PA 16801
United States

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