USCentre: O'Geen Helps Explain Supreme Court Justices' Decisions

Davidson's Andrew O'Geen and co-author Christopher Parker have published results of their research into the human dynamics behind Supreme Court decisions in the London School of Economics USCentre blog. McArthur Assistant Professor O'Geen and his colleague examined about 29,000 choices by Supreme Court justices in 4,500 cases over 40 years to determine the conditions under which cooperation of Supreme Court judges is most likely. They construct a theoretical model of cooperative behavior between justices that accounts for their competing individual- and group-level considerations of U.S. Supreme Court cases.

The authors write,"The past year has seen major decisions by the Supreme Court on gay marriage and Obamacare. But what influences the coalitions of opinion in Supreme Court decisions?... Our results reveal some interesting trends in the justices' decisions to join the majority or write a special concurring opinion."

Read the blog.

An abstract and references about their study appear in American Politics Research under the title "Strategic Cooperation: Modeling Concurring Behavior on the U.S. Supreme Court." It is available online.



  • January 6, 2016