Institutional Design and the Predictability of Judicial Interruptions at Oral Argument

Journal of Law and Courts (2024), 1-22

22 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2024

See all articles by Tonja Jacobi

Tonja Jacobi

Emory University School of Law

Patrick Leslie

Australian National University (ANU)

Zoe Robinson

Australian National University, School of Politics and International Relations

Date Written: February 9, 2024

Abstract

Examining oral argument in the Australian High Court and comparing to the U.S. Supreme Court, this article shows that institutional design drives judicial interruptive behavior. Many of the same individual- and case-level factors predict oral argument behavior. Notably, despite orthodoxy of the High Court as “apolitical,” ideology strongly predicts interruptions, just as in the United States. Yet, important divergent institutional design features between the two apex courts translate into meaningful behavioral differences, with the greater power of the Chief Justice resulting in differences in interruptions. Finally, gender effects are lower and only identifiable with new methodological techniques we develop and apply.

Keywords: empirical law and courts, oral argument, comparative courts, gender, ideology, interruptions

Suggested Citation

Jacobi, Tonja and Leslie, Patrick and Robinson, Zoe, Institutional Design and the Predictability of Judicial Interruptions at Oral Argument (February 9, 2024). Journal of Law and Courts (2024), 1-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4721477

Tonja Jacobi (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

Patrick Leslie

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

Zoe Robinson

Australian National University, School of Politics and International Relations ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

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