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Relying on research that posits that female leaders and managers will be more likely than men to adopt a management style that favors participation, collaboration, and consensus building, I argue that female district court judges, using this style in their case management environments, should be more likely than their male colleagues to successfully foster intracourt case settlements. To test this, I compile data from nearly 18,000 civil rights and tort cases terminated in four federal district courts across 9 years. The regression and duration analyses provide confirmation that the sex of a case’s assigned judge matters, with female judges successfully fostering settlement in their cases more often and more quickly than their male colleagues. In addition to having significance for litigants, these findings have broad implications for female decision makers across different institutions and organizations as well as the future of the judging profession and diversity appointments to the judiciary.
This article challenges the practice of extending constitutional rights to corporations. Drawing on recent corporate law scholarship, it shows that a corporation is neither an association of natural persons nor an independent person (or “real entity”) itself. The rights of natural persons thus do not pass to it. Instead, the corporation is an abstract, property-owning legal entity entirely distinct from its members that owes its very existence to a complex of legal privileges granted by government. Having been constituted by government, the corporation cannot properly assert constitutional rights against it. Corporations have only what rights they are granted by charter or statute, and these do not and cannot include constitutional rights.
Leading explanations of judicial independence argue political competition incentivizes those in power to create independent courts as insurance against uncertain futures. While much work addresses the role competition plays, little analyzes the fundamental assumption that courts provide political insurance. I offer an original hypothesis as to how independent courts provide insurance against post-tenure punishment and test this using data on the post-tenure fate of leaders from 1960 to 2004. Results show independence is associated with significantly higher probabilities of unpunished post-tenure fate. The article builds on and extends existing political insurance explanations and offers the first test of one of their critical assumptions.
A trio of Supreme Court decisions between 2002 and 2005 intensified debate over judicial reliance on foreign law. The literature has been dominated by arguments over the desirability of foreign law citations in the abstract, without sufficient attention to how the Court actually has used foreign law. To ground the normative debate, this article presents analysis of a newly created database containing cases from the Court’s earliest period to the present day in which the lead opinions relied on foreign law in deciding constitutional rights cases. The article uses this analysis to (1) make sense of why the recent trio of decisions was so controversial, even though the practice of citing foreign law was not new, and (2) show why many of the justifications offered by scholars for judicial reliance on foreign law bear no relation to how the Court has employed foreign law in practice.
Underlying scholarly interest in diversity is the premise that a representative body contributes to robust decision-making processes. Using an innovative measure of opinion content, we examine this premise by analyzing deliberative outputs in the US courts of appeals (1997–2002). While the presence of a single female or minority did not affect the attention to issues in the majority opinion, panels composed of a majority of women or minorities produced opinions with significantly more points of law compared to panels with three Caucasian males.
Exploring legal development requires more than simply examining the votes of judges because legal development embraces the actions of multiple actors. At a minimum, courts require lawyers to develop and present cases to them for adjudication. While courts need lawyers, lawyers need law; in other words, courts rely on lawyers to develop cases for their review, but the law provided by those courts shapes the actions of lawyers. This article examines the development of state constitutional law by exploring the interactions between lawyers and the Washington Supreme Court after the court required specific briefing practices for state constitutional arguments and the degree to which Washington lawyers responded. Utilizing legal briefs in Washington and some comparative data, I argue that the court was moderately successful at encouraging more thorough constitutional claims. This highlights the importance of considering how lawyers respond to court signals not only in the presence or absence of certain legal arguments but also in the content of those arguments.
Most empirical analyses of the US Supreme Court are limited to the Court’s plenary decisions. We contend that summary decisions are an important component of the total decisional output of the Court and, as such, should be included in any overall assessment of the decision making of the Court or its impact on the courts below. We analyze the universe of the Court’s summary decisions from 1995 to 2005. We assess the conventional wisdom that a conservative Court should primarily disturb liberal lower-court decisions and that, in all cases granted certiorari, the policy preferences of the justices should have a major impact on their votes. We find support for neither of these expectations.