Crafting Law on the Supreme Court: The Collegial Game / Edition 1

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Overview

In Crafting Law on the Supreme Court, Forrest Maltzman, James Spriggs, and Paul Wahlbeck use material gleaned from internal memos circulated among justices on the Supreme Court to account systematically for the building of majority opinions. The authors argue that at the heart of this process are policy-seeking justices who are constrained by the choices made by the other justices. By strategically using threats, signals, and persuasion, justices attempt to influence the behavior of their colleagues on the bench. Evidence derived from the recently released papers of justices Brennan, Douglas, Marshall, and Powell is used to test the authors' theory of opinion writing. The portrait of the Supreme Court that emerges stands in sharp contrast to the conventional portrait where justices act solely on the basis of the law or their personal policy preferences. This book provides a glimpse of how the Court crafts the law.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Crafting Law on the Supreme Court is a first-rate examination of what happens in the crucial stages after the justices reach a decision on the merits. By putting hypotheses about strategic interdependence through the rigors of (appropriately) sophisticated econometric tests, we learn much that is new about bargaining and accommodation over the Court's opinion." Jeffrey Segal, State University of New York, Stony Brook

"In this pathbreaking study, Maltzman, Spriggs, and Wahlbeck unravel the mysteries of strategic behavior inside the Supreme Court—how Justices engage in instrumental behavior to achieve case outcomes consistent with their doctrinal and policy perspectives. Their efforts to extend the analysis beyond mere case studies and to reach significant general conclusions should set the agenda for further research and be of interest to all students of the Supreme Court." Philip P. Frickey, University of Minnesota

"Utilizing data drawn from the papers of several Supreme Court justices, Crafting Law on the Supreme Court is an outstanding addition to the rational choice and the courts literature and will surely be seen as a classic in the field. More traditional students of public law will also profit from the extensive reprinting and discussion of justices' memoranda and the fashioning of Supreme Court doctrine." Sheldon Goldman, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

"Forrest Maltzman, James Spriggs, and Paul Wahlbeck argue that court opinions do in fact matter: in the "collegial setting" of the Supreme Court, the opinion-writing process features its own unique set of political dynamics, as justices try to secure opinions that lie as close as possible to their own policy preferences. The authors advance this important argument by drawing on justices' papers and other evidence of internal deliberations on the Burger Court. The final product of their efforts is quite persuasive, more than justifying the authors' strategic departure from recent trends in judicial research." Choice

"Forrest Maltzman, James Spriggs, and Paul Wahlbeck argue that court opinions do in fact matter: in the "collegial setting" of the Supreme Court, the opinion-writing process features its own uniques set of political dynamics, as justices try to secure opinions that lie as close as possible to their own policy preferences. The authors advance this important argument by drawing on justices' papers and other evidence of internal deliberations on the Burger Court. The final product of their efforts is quite persuasive, more than justifying the authors' strategic departure from recent trends in judicial research." Choice

"The product of their efforts is quite persuasive" Choice April 2001

"Crafting Law on the Supreme Court has something to say to, and should be read by, all students of the Court whether one is grounded more in scientific and empirical research on the Court or whether one's interests are more doctrinally oriented. The book's presentation is both rich in detail, mostly provided through the anecdotes the authors share with the reader, but more important, their analysis is systematic, thorough, and ultimately convincing." Journal of Politics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521783941
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Selecting an Author: Assigning the Majority Opinion 29
3 A Strategic Response to Draft Opinions 57
4 The Decision to Accommodate 94
5 The Politics of Coalition Formation 125
6 Conclusion 149
App. 1 Data Reliability 155
App. 2 Summary Statistics for Independent Variables 169
App. 3 Measuring Preemptive Accommodation 173
References 177
Author Index 197
Subject Index 200
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