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An Empirical Analysis of Dissensus on the United States Courts of Appeals

20 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2006  

Jason J. Czarnezki

Pace University - School of Law

William K. Ford

The John Marshall Law School

Date Written: July 2006

Abstract

Judges often emphasize that decision-making on the courts of appeals is a product of collegial deliberation among judges. Many factors may help promote judicial collegiality or create dissensus in the courts. We examine aggregate disagreement - or dissensus - on the United States Court of Appeals for the First, Seventh, Ninth, and D.C. Circuits and attempt to explain dissensus as a product of several variables: the ideological makeup of the court, the size of the court, the addition of new members to the court, the chief judge's years of experience, the number of judges with trial court experience, workload, and a measure of aggregate co-tenure, which is the average number of years of shared service on the court for each pair of judges on the court. Using both pooled and individual OLS estimates for the four circuits, we find only limited evidence that these variables contribute to the aggregate levels of disagreement on these courts.

Keywords: courts of appeals, dissents, dissensus

Suggested Citation

Czarnezki, Jason J. and Ford, William K., An Empirical Analysis of Dissensus on the United States Courts of Appeals (July 2006). Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 06-31; 1st Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=914409 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.914409

Jason J. Czarnezki (Contact Author)

Pace University - School of Law ( email )

78 North Broadway
White Plains, NY 10603
United States

William K. Ford

The John Marshall Law School ( email )

315 South Plymouth Court
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

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