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The Politics of Judicial Opposition


  • Joanna M. Shepherd


Existing studies of judicial decisionmaking have found that elected judges are more likely to dissent and to oppose judges from the same party. These findings are explained by elected judges having stronger preferences for risk or being more independent. In this paper, I offer an alternative explanation: judges' efforts to be retained should yield different patterns of opposition among judges facing reelection and reappointment. I test my hypothesis using data from four years of state supreme courts decisions. Estimation results from probit models and mixed-effects nested logit models suggest that judges' retention concerns are important influences on their opposition voting.

Suggested Citation

  • Joanna M. Shepherd, 2010. "The Politics of Judicial Opposition," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 166(1), pages 88-107, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(201003)166:1_88:tpojo_2.0.tx_2-x

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baker, Jonathan B & Rubinfeld, Daniel L, 1999. "Empirical Methods in Antitrust Litigation: Review and Critique," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1-2), pages 386-435, Fall.
    2. Lucas, Robert Jr, 1976. "Econometric policy evaluation: A critique," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 19-46, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Szmer & Robert K. Christensen & Erin B. Kaheny, 2015. "Gender, Race, and Dissensus on State Supreme Courts," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(2), pages 553-575, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process


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