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Deferring, Deliberating, or Dodging Review? Examining the Mechanisms Behind Panel Effects

32 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2017  

Rachael K. Hinkle

University at Buffalo

Michael J. Nelson

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science

Morgan Hazelton

Saint Louis University

Date Written: June 27, 2017

Abstract

While panel effects -- the notion that panel composition effects the votes cast by judges on the U.S. Courts of Appeals, have been widely documented -- scholars are unsure why these empirical regularities persist. In this paper, we outline three possible mechanisms, consensual, deliberative, and strategic, through which panel effects might occur, develop indicators for each mechanism, and test the three theories using a unique dataset of search and seizure cases. Our evidence, fitting the complicated nature of judicial choice, suggests that panel effects likely stem from a mixture of consensual, deliberative, and strategic reasons rather than a single explanation. The results have important implications for our understanding of judicial decisionmaking, the effects of proposed circuit splits, and the internal procedures used by judicial bodies.

Suggested Citation

Hinkle, Rachael K. and Nelson, Michael J. and Hazelton, Morgan, Deferring, Deliberating, or Dodging Review? Examining the Mechanisms Behind Panel Effects (June 27, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2993200

Rachael Hinkle (Contact Author)

University at Buffalo ( email )

Department of Political Science
520 Park Hall (North Campus)
Buffalo, NY 14260
United States

Michael Nelson

Pennsylvania State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

University Park, State College, PA 16801
United States

Morgan Hazelton

Saint Louis University ( email )

220 North Grand Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63103
United States
314-977-5169 (Phone)

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