In the past few decades, the states have gained more discretion over policy adoption and implementation. Some of this expanded discretion has resulted from federal court rulings, as the states have increasingly used these courts to achieve their policy goals. But some states are more successful in the federal courts than others. Why is this? We examine cases argued by states in the United States Courts of Appeals between 1970 and 1996 to answer this question. Contrary to research at the Supreme Court level, we find no overall trend that the states are becoming more efficacious in court over time. We also find that the differences among the states' success in court cannot be attributed simply, or even primarily, to disparities in resources. Rather, case attributes and judicial attitudes provide the best explanations for state success in the Courts of Appeals.