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Crafting Law on the Supreme Court
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Details

  • 6 b/w illus. 18 tables
  • Page extent: 224 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.5 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 347.73/5
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: KF8748 .M285 2000
  • LC Subject headings:
    • United States.--Supreme Court--Decision making
    • Judicial process--United States
    • Judges--United States--Attitudes
    • Law--Political aspects
    • Collective behavior

Library of Congress Record

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Hardback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521780100 | ISBN-10: 0521780101)

  • Also available in Paperback
  • Published July 2000

Manufactured on demand: supplied direct from the printer

$64.00 (P)

In Crafting Law on the Supreme Court, Maltzman, Spriggs, and Wahlbeck use material gleaned from internal memos circulated among justices on the U.S. Supreme Court to systematically account for the building of majority opinions. The authors argue that at the heart of this process are justices whose decisions are constrained by the choices made by the other justices. 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 fascinating glimpse of how the Court crafts the law.

Contents

1. Introduction; 2. Selecting an author: assigning the majority opinion; 3. A strategic response to draft opinions; 4. The decision to accommodate; 5. The politics of coalition formation; 6. Conclusion.

Prize Winner

Winner, 2017 Lasting Contribution Award, American Political Science Association

Winner, 2001 C. Herman Pritchett Award, Law and Courts Section, American Political Science Association

Reviews

"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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