Strategic Behavior and Policy Choice on the U.S. Supreme Court
Thomas H. Hammond, Chris W. Bonneau, and Reginald S. Sheehan

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Table of Contents for Knowledge and Money

Table of Contents for

Strategic Behavior and Policy Choice on the U.S. Supreme Court

List of Figures and Tables

Preface

Acknowledgments

PART I: THEORIES OF SUPREME COURT DECISION-MAKING

1.      Introduction

Plan of the Book

2.      Seven Distinctions in the Literature

Distinction 1: A Psychological Metaphor vs. a Rational-Choice Metaphor

Distinction 2: Theories of Attitude Activation vs. Theories of Rational Choice

Distinction 3: Theories of Choice vs. Theories of Measurement

Distinction 4: Explaining Final Votes vs. Explaining What Final Opinion Is Adopted

Distinction 5: Explaining Just the Final Vote vs. Explaining All Five Stages of Decision-Making

Distinction 6: Theories of "Sincere" Rational Choice vs. Theories of "Strategic Rational Choice

Distinction 7: A "Status Quo" Policy vs. No "Status Quo" Policy

Conclusion

3.      Assessing Previous Theories of Supreme Court Decision-Making

The Pioneers: Pritchett, Schubert, and Murphy

Schubert's Attitude-Activation Model

The Attitudinal Model

Conceptual Problems with the Attitudinal Model

Other Issues Involving the Attitudinal Model

The Literature on Strategically Rational Justices

Conclusion

Part II: A FORMAL MODEL OF SUPREME COURT DECISION-MAKING

4.      Why Formal Models?

The Role of Theories and Models in Empirical Research

Some Potential Benefits from Formal Modeling

Potential Costs and Other Criticisms of Formal Modeling

How Can We Be Sure that the Potential Benefits Exceed thePotential Costs?

Conclusion

5.      Definitions and Assumptions

Lines, Points, and Utility Functions

The Status Quo Policy

Preferred-to Sets and Win Sets

The Number of Justices

An Informational Assumption

"Sincere" and "Strategic" Behavior

The Independence of Cases

Joining, Concurring, and Dissenting

Costless Opinion Writing

Conclusion

6.      Coalition Formation and the Final Vote

When Can the Status Quo Policy Be Upset?

What Are the Constraints on the Set of Policies that Could Be Adopted?

What Policies do Different Majority Coalitions Prefer to SQ?

How Do Justices Behave When They Dislike the Majority Opinion?

The Agenda-Control Version

The Open-Bidding Version

The Median-Holdout Version

Comparison of the Agenda-Control, Open-Bidding, and Median-Holdout Versions

Is Agenda-Control Behavior Unstable?

Summary of Major Results

7.      Opinion Assignment

Self-Assignment As an Opinion-Assignment Strategy

Alternative Opinion-Assignment Strategies

Opinion Assignment by a Justice Outside Wjmed(SQ)

Opinion Assignment by a Justice Inside Wjmed(SQ)

Opinion Assignment by a Minority-Side Justice

Would an Opinion Assigner Prefer Larger Coalitions?

How Much Does Opinion Assignment Matter?

Summary of Major Results

8.      The Conference Vote

Different Kinds of Strategic Behavior from Different Kinds of Justices

Strategic Behavior by the Chief Justice

Strategic Behavior by an Associate Justice Who Could Become the Opinion Assigner

Strategic Behavior by a Low-Seniority Justice Who Cannot Become the Opinion Assigner

Strategic Behavior by a Low-Seniority Justice Who Cannot Become the Opinion Assigner

What If Everyone Behaves Strategically?

When Does the Chief Justice Self-Assign?

Will the Chief Justice Trust What Other Justices Say on the Conference Vote?

Summary of Major Results

9.      Certiorari

Sincere Behavior on Certiorari Decisions

Strategic Behavior on Certiorari Decisions

"Aggressive Granting" and "Defensive Denial" When Justices Are Strategic

Summary of Major Results

PART III: FUTURE DIRECTION FOR THEORIES OF SUPREME COURT DECISION-MAKING

10.  Empirical Implications

Understanding the Five Stages of Supreme Court Decision-Making

"Nonstrategic" or "Sincere" Behavior on the Supreme Court

Vote Switching between the Original and Final Votes

Problems of Empirical Measurement

Conclusion

11.  Future Research

Do the Justices Have Perfect Information about Each Other's Preferences?

Do the Justices Always Have Clear and Fixed Preferences?

Are Supreme Court Cases Independent from Each Other?

Regular and Special Concurrences

How Many Issue Dimensions Are There?

Costly Opinion Writing

Extensions of the Model

Exogenous Preferences and the Impact of "The Law"

Broader Applications

Conclusion

Notes

References

Index