What's in a Name: How US Supreme Court Justices Shape Law and Policy in the Lower Courts
We investigate whether inherent differences between the majority opinions of US Supreme Court justices result in certain justices being systematically more influential compared to their peers. We offer a theory in which lower court adoption of the Supreme Court's precedents are influenced through justice opinion attributes, case characteristics, and circuit-level influences. To test the predictions, we examine the universe of responses by US Courts of Appeals to the signed majority opinions of individual justices by assembling a dataset of over 130,000 observations. We assess the interdependence of the mechanisms at work through a coarsened exact matching algorithm. We find that intricate tendencies in opinion writing disparately impact lower court attentiveness to the Supreme Court's decisions. These findings offer new and important implications toward a richer understanding of the influence of individual justices on legal development and policy adoption in the American courts.
Masood, Ali S., and Benjamin J. Kassow. 2022. "What's in a Name: How US Supreme Court Justices Shape Law and Policy in the Lower Courts." Law and Social Inquiry 48(2): 463-488.
Cambridge University Press
Law and Social Inquiry
United States courts, Decision making, Opinion, Precedent, Responses, Impact, Explanation, Language, Appeals, Search