D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the EPA Open Access

Hewitt, Hannah E. (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/9p290b11q?locale=en
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Abstract

This thesis aims to provide further insight into the conditions under which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of the EPA. In an effort to answer this question, I used five independent variables, (1) public mood, (2) president ideology, (3) panel ideology, (4) president and panel ideology alignment, and (5) polarization. I hypothesized that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is more likely to rule in favor of an EPA regulation when (1) the public mood is more liberal than conservative, (2) when the president's ideology is conservative, (3) when the panel ideology is liberal, (4) when the ideology of the panel and the president aligns, and (5) when polarization is low. However, after running an ordered logit for all of these variables, none of them were statistically significant. As a result, I failed to reject the null hypotheses. However, despite these results' departure from some of the literature, they may help highlight the unique relationship that the courts have with bureaucratic agencies, or at least the unique relationship that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has with the Environmental Protection Agency. It also gives credence to the idea that the court is more differential in dealing with the EPA and perhaps with other agencies as well. Finally, the results reveal a potential strength for the executive branch, while highlighting a weakness in the court's policymaking power.

Table of Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….1

Literature Review………....……………………………………………………………………………………………………….….2

Theory……....………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………7

Legal Model…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….....….7

Precedent…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………..8

Attitudinal Model…………………………………………………………………………………………….……….…...9

Rational Choice Model…………………………………………………………………………………….……………10

Research Design……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….12

Results and Discussion………………………………………………………………………………………………………….….17

Limitations and Future Research………………………………………………………………………………………………23

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….26

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