Skip to main content
Journal cover image

Measuring policy content on the U.S. Supreme court

Publication ,  Journal Article
McGuire, KT; Vanberg, G; Smith, CE; Caldeira, GA
Published in: Journal of Politics
October 1, 2009

Political scientists have developed increasingly sophisticated understandings of the influences on Supreme Court decision making. Yet, much less attention has been paid to empirical measures of the Court's ideological output. We develop a theory of the interactions between rational litigants, lower court judges, and Supreme Court justices. We argue that the most common measure of the Supreme Court's ideological outputwhether the Court's decision is liberal or conservativesuffers from systematic bias. We trace this bias empirically and explain the undesirable consequences it has for empirical analyses of judicial behavior. Specifically, we show that, although the Court's preferences are positively correlated with the ideological direction of the justices decision to reverse a lower court, the attitudes of the justices are negatively relatedand significantly soto the ideological direction of outcomes that affirm lower court decisions. We also offer a solution that allows scholars to work around this affirmance bias. © 2009 Copyright Southern Political Science Association.

Duke Scholars

Altmetric Attention Stats
Dimensions Citation Stats

Published In

Journal of Politics

DOI

EISSN

1468-2508

ISSN

0022-3816

Publication Date

October 1, 2009

Volume

71

Issue

4

Start / End Page

1305 / 1321

Related Subject Headings

  • Political Science & Public Administration
  • 4408 Political science
  • 1606 Political Science
 

Citation

APA
Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
NLM
McGuire, K. T., Vanberg, G., Smith, C. E., & Caldeira, G. A. (2009). Measuring policy content on the U.S. Supreme court. Journal of Politics, 71(4), 1305–1321. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022381609990107
McGuire, K. T., G. Vanberg, C. E. Smith, and G. A. Caldeira. “Measuring policy content on the U.S. Supreme court.” Journal of Politics 71, no. 4 (October 1, 2009): 1305–21. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022381609990107.
McGuire KT, Vanberg G, Smith CE, Caldeira GA. Measuring policy content on the U.S. Supreme court. Journal of Politics. 2009 Oct 1;71(4):1305–21.
McGuire, K. T., et al. “Measuring policy content on the U.S. Supreme court.” Journal of Politics, vol. 71, no. 4, Oct. 2009, pp. 1305–21. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0022381609990107.
McGuire KT, Vanberg G, Smith CE, Caldeira GA. Measuring policy content on the U.S. Supreme court. Journal of Politics. 2009 Oct 1;71(4):1305–1321.
Journal cover image

Published In

Journal of Politics

DOI

EISSN

1468-2508

ISSN

0022-3816

Publication Date

October 1, 2009

Volume

71

Issue

4

Start / End Page

1305 / 1321

Related Subject Headings

  • Political Science & Public Administration
  • 4408 Political science
  • 1606 Political Science