Yun-chien Chang, Geoffrey P. Miller

Do Judges Matter?

Volume 179 () / Issue 1, pp. 224-246 (23)
Published 31.01.2023

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An extensive literature examines whether characteristics of judges correlate with votes on cases. These studies generally consider the judges' votes on the merits of cases. Examining a data set of 4,591 decisions issued by 48 state supreme courts in 2003, we consider whether judges' personal features affect their opinion writing. We find virtually no significant differences along any of the dimensions under review. Judicial characteristics matter only indirectly – ideological differences increase dissensus in public-law cases, which increases opinion length and citation numbers. Our study suggests that when carrying out the ordinary business of courts, judges are almost all the same.

Yun-chien Chang No current data available.

Geoffrey P. Miller No current data available.