Judicial Entrepreneurs on the U.S. Courts of Appeals: A Citation Analysis of Judicial Influence

23 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2005

See all articles by Tracey E. George

Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Jeffrey A. Berger

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP - Chicago Office

Date Written: August 2005

Abstract

Federal courts of appeals are constrained by the power and preferences of the Supreme Court. The principal-agent model reveals that circuit judges gain power largely by avoiding review. We consider, however, whether circuit judges may adopt a strategy aimed at attracting a justice's attention rather than eluding it. In the present paper, we find that Supreme Court justices regularly cite circuit court opinions, particularly those decided within the last ten years and authored by judges from the same party. The Court's practice of acknowledging lower court rulings emphasizes the power of intermediate appellate courts in a hierarchical, common-law judicial system.

Keywords: Positive Political Theory, Judicial Hierarchy, Federal Courts

Suggested Citation

George, Tracey E. and Berger, Jeffrey A., Judicial Entrepreneurs on the U.S. Courts of Appeals: A Citation Analysis of Judicial Influence (August 2005). Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 05-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=789544 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.789544

Tracey E. George (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

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

Jeffrey A. Berger

Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw LLP - Chicago Office ( email )

71 S. Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60606
United States

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