Polarization in American Politics: Does it Extend to the Federal District Court?
28 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2017
Date Written: July 21, 2017
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
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