Strategic Judicial Preference Revelation
We examine the revelation of preferences of justices whose true ideologies are not known at the moment of entering the Court but gradually become apparent through their judicial decisions. In the context of a two-period President-Senate-Court game — a generalization of Moraski and Shipan (1999) — we show that, while moderate new justices always vote truthfully, more extreme new justices may vote untruthfully at the beginning of their tenures. By concealing their true ideologies, new justices move the perceived ideology of the overall Court closer to their own, which in turn influences the selection of future members of the Court. New justices will sometimes have an incentive to exaggerate the extremeness of their overall preferences, and at other times they will seek to appear more moderate. The manifestation of the untruthful voting will depend on the characteristics of the cases they face, their initial ideologies and the ideologies of the President and Senate. Additionally, untruthful voting is more likely when the probabilities of retirement of the current justices are large. Finally, we assess judicial incentives to shape their perceived retirement probabilities.
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