Brett Curry is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Georgia Southern University. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Judicial Specialization and Ideological Decision Making in the US Courts of Appeals
Article first published online: 25 NOV 2013
© 2013 American Bar Foundation.
Law & Social Inquiry
Volume 40, Issue 1, pages 29–50, Winter 2015
How to Cite
Curry, B. and Miller, B. (2015), Judicial Specialization and Ideological Decision Making in the US Courts of Appeals. Law & Social Inquiry, 40: 29–50. doi: 10.1111/lsi.12051
The authors wish to thank Larry Baum, Jeff Budziak, and Trent Davis for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this article. A previous version of this work was presented at the 2012 Midwest Political Science Association Conference in Chicago.
- Issue published online: 26 FEB 2015
- Article first published online: 25 NOV 2013
We investigate the influence of subject matter expertise, opinion specialization, and judicial experience on the role of ideology in decision making in the courts of appeals in a generalized, as opposed to specialized, setting. We find that subject matter experts and opinion specialists are significantly more likely to engage in ideological decision making than their nonspecialist counterparts and that opinion specialization is a particularly potent factor in ideological decision making. Further, increased judicial experience has no effect on the conditional use of ideology. We discuss the potentially wide-ranging implications of our findings for both theory and policy.