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Title Motivations for the Use of Concurring Opinions on the U.S. Supreme Court
Publication Date
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Political Science
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher The Ohio State University
Abstract While some behavior on the United States Supreme Court is formally required, other choices are wholly up to the discretion of each individual justice. One such discretional choice is the choice to author a concurring opinion, which agrees with the outcome of a case but add to, subtract from, or emphasize a point within the legal doctrine provided by the majority opinion. Thus, choices about concurring opinions provide a valuable opportunity for examining judicial motivations. This dissertation examines justices’ motives for both whether and when they circulate a concurrence to their colleagues, as well as whether they choose to publish it along with the Court’s opinion. The hypotheses are derived from two types of motivations – individual and collective. Tests of these hypotheses were conducted using data from the 1970 through 1979 Court terms, collected primarily from the personal papers of Justices Harry Blackmun and William Brennan. I use a split population event history model to test hypotheses about whether and when a justice first circulates a concurring opinion. I then use a logistic regression model to test hypotheses about whether a justice chooses to withdraw a written concurrence; this analysis is, of course, dependent upon the justice already having written a concurring opinion. In both sets of analyses I find that Supreme Court justices are motivated not only by their individual preferences about legal policy, but also by individual non-policy preferences, such as workload, and collective preferences about the institutional status of the Court, such as maintaining the Court’s legitimacy.
Subjects/Keywords Political Science; US Supreme Court; judicial decision-making
Contributors Baum, Lawrence (Committee Chair)
Language en
Rights unrestricted ; This thesis or dissertation is protected by copyright: all rights reserved. It may not be copied or redistributed beyond the terms of applicable copyright laws.
Country of Publication us
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:etd.ohiolink.edu:osu1306777128
Repository ohiolink
Date Indexed 2016-12-22
Grantor The Ohio State University

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