Polarization in American Politics: Does it Extend to the Federal District Court?

28 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017

See all articles by Herbert M. Kritzer

Herbert M. Kritzer

University of Minnesota Law School

Robert A. Carp

University of Houston

Kenneth L. Manning

University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth

Date Written: July 21, 2017

Abstract

This article examines the question of whether there has been a pattern of increasing political polarization in decisions by federal district judges. The analysis employs the data set compiled by Robert Carp and Kenneth Manning that extends back to the 1930s. The results show that overall there has been increased polarization in the published decisions of federal trial judges, and that the overall trend largely reflects increasing conservatism by appointees of Republican presidents. However, this simple pattern breaks down as cases are disaggregated by subject matter, leaving a much murkier picture of change in decision patterns.

Keywords: Judicial Behavior, Federal District Courts, Political Polarization

Suggested Citation

Kritzer, Herbert M. and Carp, Robert A. and Manning, Kenneth L., Polarization in American Politics: Does it Extend to the Federal District Court? (July 21, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3007983 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3007983

Herbert M. Kritzer (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Robert A. Carp

University of Houston ( email )

4800 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204
United States
713-743-4008 (Phone)
713-743-3927 (Fax)

Kenneth L. Manning

University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth ( email )

N Dartmouth, MA 02747
United States
508-999-8366 (Phone)
508-999-8819 (Fax)

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