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Palgrave Macmillan

Supreme Court Agenda Setting

Strategic Behavior during Case Selection

ISBN 9781137399915
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

The choices the Supreme Court makes in taking their cases casts an important part of each individual justice's jurisprudence. This book attaches case selection on the high court to a broader institutional context that incorporates the goals of individual justices,  other branches of government, and the evolution of the court's power over time. Udi Sommer provides compelling evidence (such as the correspondence between justices and their clerks) which indicates that on a range of issues - from abortion and federalism to gun rights and campaign finance - justices strategically choose to review certain cases and not others. Furthermore, cutting-edge quantitative methodologies show that such strategic behavior is systematic. Supreme Court Agenda Setting relates the question of agenda setting to the broader issue of the role of the Supreme Court within American politics and society at large, providing a vital analysis of modern Court behavior.

Udi Sommer teaches political science at Tel Aviv University, Israel. His broad research interests are in American and comparative politics, public law and political methodology. He specializes in the analysis of political institutions and legal evolution. His scholarship has appeared in publications such as Comparative Political Studies, The Law and Society Review, the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Political Studies, Judicature, Rationality and Society, and the Justice System Journal.

1. Introduction
2. The History and Institutions of Certiorari
3. The Theoretical Framework: Strategic Case Selection on the Court
4. Voting Contingents, Cert Pivots and Voting Volatility
5. Strategic Votes on Cert: Evidence from Justices' Papers
6. Opinion Authorship and Strategic Cert
7. Conclusions
Appendix 1: SIMEX Computations
Appendix 2: The Judiciary Act of 1925
Appendix 3: Rules of the Supreme Court of the United States
Appendix 4: Original Material and Documents


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