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Strategy on the United States Supreme Court

$68.00 (P)

  • Date Published: February 2009
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521516723

$ 68.00 (P)

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About the Authors
  • To what extent do the justices on the Supreme Court behave strategically? In Strategy on the United States Supreme Court, Saul Brenner and Joseph M. Whitmeyer investigate the answers to this question and reveal that justices are substantially less strategic than many Supreme Court scholars believe. By examining the research to date on each of the justice’s important activities, Brenner and Whitmeyer’s work shows that the justices often do not cast their certiorari votes in accord with the outcome-prediction strategy, that the other members of the conference coalition bargain successfully with the majority opinion writer in less than 6 percent of the situations, and that most of the fluidity in voting on the Court is nonstrategic. This work is essential to understanding how strategic behavior – or its absence – influences the decisions of the Supreme Court and, as a result, American politics and society.

    • Introduces new evaluations of Supreme Court behavior
    • Current and thoughtful in its survey of the relevant research
    • Succinct and clearly written
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “This book challenges the widely held view that Supreme Court justices as decision makers are highly strategic. Offering theoretical arguments and using empirical evidence, Brenner and Whitmeyer provide fresh perspectives on judicial strategy. This important book deserves the attention of scholars and students who seek to understand judicial behavior.”
    – Lawrence Baum, Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University

    “Whether the justices of the United States Supreme Court engage in strategic behavior has been heavily debated, studied, and modeled for many years. Unfortunately, researchers working on one area of Court decision making often do not consider how the theory behind their approach applies in other areas. In Strategy on the Supreme Court, Brenner and Whitmeyer address this shortcoming by pulling together varied research on the extent to which strategy is used by the justices. They begin with an introduction of the basic models (legal, attitudinal, strategic) and then proceed to examine each in the context of specific decision making (cert vote, conference vote, vote on the merits). Even if one were to disagree with the authors’ conclusions, the meta-analysis of the studies will be very useful to scholars and students of the Supreme Court.”
    – Timothy M. Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science, The University of Iowa

    "The authors of this short text are very well-qualified to prepare this study of the inner working of the US Supreme Court. Brenner has published extensively on what is termed 'fluidity' on the High Court, and his colleague, Whitmeyer, is a recognized expert in 'small-group processes.'...The book is clearly written and contains a useful set of references along with a very complete index."
    CHOICE, R.A. Carp, University of Houston

    "...the book provides an accessible assessment of the literature that should demystify rational-choice research on the courts for students and serve as a useful starting point for the critical discussion of the strength of empirical data underlying alternative models of judging."
    Perspectives on Politics, Eileen Braman, Indiana University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521516723
    • length: 208 pages
    • dimensions: 221 x 145 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • contains: 1 b/w illus. 6 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    I. Introduction:
    1. The legal model
    2. The attitudinal model
    3. The strategic models
    II. Certiorari:
    4. The losing litigant model
    5. The outcome-prediction strategy
    III. The Conference Vote on the Merits:
    6. Strategic voting at the conference vote
    7. Fluidity and strategic voting
    IV: The Majority Opinion and Other Opinions:
    8. The extent of successful bargaining over the content of the majority opinion
    9. The size of opinion coalitions
    10. At whose ideal point will the majority opinion be written?
    11. Reciprocity on the supreme court
    V. The Final Vote on the Merits:
    12. The separation of powers model
    13. Supreme Court decision making and public opinion
    VI. Concluding Chapters:
    14. Strategies in pursuit of institutional goals
    15. Summary
    Appendix 1: decision making on the U.S. Supreme Court
    Appendix 2: additional questions to explore.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Graduate Seminar in Judicial Politics
    • Judicial Processes and Behavior
    • Seminar on U.S. Supreme Court
    • The Supreme Court
  • Authors

    Saul Brenner, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
    Saul Brenner is a Professor of Political Science at UNC Charlotte. He has published extensively regarding fluidity in voting on the Supreme Court, strategic voting at the cert vote, and majority opinion assignment. In 2007 he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association.

    Joseph M. Whitmeyer, University of North Carolina, Charlotte
    Joseph M. Whitmeyer is a Professor of Sociology at UNC Charlotte. He has published concerning small-group processes in journals such as Social Psychology Quarterly and Sociological Theory. He has been a visiting professor at the University of Hokkaido (Japan) and at the University of Groningen (the Netherlands).

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