The Futility of Appeal: Disciplinary Insights into the 'Affirmance Effect' on the United States Court of Appeals

31 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2005  

Chris Guthrie

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Abstract

In contrast to the Supreme Court, which typically reverses the cases it hears, the United States Courts of Appeals almost always affirm the cases that they hear. We set out to explore this affirmance effect on the U.S. Courts of Appeal by using insights drawn from law and economics (i.e., selection theory), political science (i.e., attitudinal theory and new institutionalism), and cognitive psychology (i.e., heuristics and biases, including the status quo and omission biases).

Keywords: heuristics, biases, federal courts, attitudinal model, strategic model, judicial behavior

Suggested Citation

Guthrie, Chris and George, Tracey E., The Futility of Appeal: Disciplinary Insights into the 'Affirmance Effect' on the United States Court of Appeals. Florida State University Law Review, Vol. 32, No. 2, pp. 357-185, Winter 2005; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 05-21; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 05-17. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=743167

Chris Guthrie (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-322-6823 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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