The Decision to Disagree: A Revisit of Eroding Consensus on the U.S. Supreme Court 公开

Francen, Alec D (2017)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/gb19f671z?locale=zh
Published

Abstract

Dissent can be a powerful means of judicial expression. For many years, dissent on the Supreme Court was relatively rare, and most cases in a term were decided unanimously. In the early 1940s, a sudden shift in activity on the Court led to a sharp increase in dissenting behavior, for which such patterns have remained to the present day. This study offers a unique perspective on the longstanding question of eroding consensus in two ways. First, a framework for dissenting behavior is offered, lending better understanding as to why justices might dissent. A second unique aspect comes from the utilization of new data, which allows for a more refined analysis of cases and judicial votes than previously possible. This availability in data allows for two avenues of analysis to be pursued. One path of inquiry considers institutional changes, namely the Judges' Bill of 1925 as a possible explanation for the erosion of consensus on the Court. Another consideration is the behavior of individual justices during the Roosevelt Court, from 1937 to 1945. There is evidence to suggest that the Judges' Bill may have an influence on increasing dissent rates by a reduction in the Court's workload. Moreover, analysis of the Roosevelt Court suggests the 1941 term was a critical point in the erosion of consensus, which is consistent with previous research.

Table of Contents

I. Introduction..................................................................................................................................... 1

II. Why Do Justices Dissent?.............................................................................................................. 2

III. An Evolving Court........................................................................................................................... 4

IV. On Competing Theories for the Decline of Consensus................................................................... 8

A Theory of Hard Cases.............................................................................................................. 8

A Theory of Consensual Norms.................................................................................................. 10

V. Revisiting Factors Behind the Erosion of Consensus...................................................................... 14

Changing Institutions: The Judges' Bill of 1925.......................................................................... 14

The Roosevelt Court: 1937-1945................................................................................................ 16

VI. Data and Methodology.................................................................................................................... 18

Case-Level Analysis.................................................................................................................... 18

Justice-Level Analysis................................................................................................................. 20

VII. Results and Analysis....................................................................................................................... 21

The Judges' Bill........................................................................................................................... 21

The Roosevelt Court.................................................................................................................... 24

The Roosevelt Appointees...................................................................................................... 25

The Pre-Roosevelt Holdovers.................................................................................................. 27

Personnel and the Court's Agenda........................................................................................... 30

VIII. Discussion....................................................................................................................................... 31

Immediate Considerations............................................................................................................ 31

Broader Implications.................................................................................................................... 33

IX. References........................................................................................................................................ 35

X. Tables and Figures........................................................................................................................... 38

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
School
Department
Degree
Submission
Language
  • English
Research field
关键词
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
最新修改

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files