The Puzzle of Unanimity: Consensus on the United States Supreme Court

The Puzzle of Unanimity: Consensus on the United States Supreme Court

by Pamela Corley, Amy Steigerwalt, Artemus Ward
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0804784728

ISBN-13: 9780804784726

Pub. Date: 05/15/2013

Publisher: Stanford University Press

The U.S. Supreme Court typically rules on cases that present complex legal questions. Given the challenging nature of its cases and the popular view that the Court is divided along ideological lines, it's commonly assumed that the Court routinely hands down equally-divided decisions. Yet the justices actually issue unanimous decisions in approximately one third of

Overview

The U.S. Supreme Court typically rules on cases that present complex legal questions. Given the challenging nature of its cases and the popular view that the Court is divided along ideological lines, it's commonly assumed that the Court routinely hands down equally-divided decisions. Yet the justices actually issue unanimous decisions in approximately one third of the cases they decide.

Drawing on data from the U.S. Supreme Court database, internal court documents, and the justices' private papers, The Puzzle of Unanimity provides the first comprehensive account of how the Court reaches consensus. Pamela Corley, Amy Steigerwalt, and Artemus Ward propose and empirically test a theory of consensus; they find consensus is a function of multiple, concurrently-operating forces that cannot be fully accounted for by ideological attitudes. In this thorough investigation, the authors conclude that consensus is a function of the level of legal certainty and its ability to constrain justices' ideological preferences.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780804784726
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
Publication date:
05/15/2013
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

1 The Roosevelt Court: The Critical Juncture from Consensus to Dissensus 14

2 Closing the Jaws of the Decision Making Vise: A Theory and Model of Consensus 49

3 A Function of Design: Consensus in Votes on the Merits 94

4 Monolithic Solidarity: Consensus in Opinion Writing 114

5 An Opportunity to Clarify: Unanimity and Agenda Setting 141

6 Conclusion 160

Appendix 169

Index of Cases 177

Notes 179

Bibliography 185

Index 197

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