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Lee Epstein
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Lee Epsteing Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor
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The End of Supreme Court Deference to the President?
(Covered in the New York Times, "Why Obama Struggled at Court, and Trump May Strain to Do Better," January 23, 2017)

Lee Epstein
Eric Posner

•To assess presidential performance in the U.S. Supreme Court, we created a dataset of cases of concern to the President. The dataset covers Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt through Barack Obama (1932-2015 terms), which amounts to 84 Court terms and 13 Presidents.

•Three findings emerge from the raw data.

    1. Presidents prevailed in nearly two-thirds of their cases; and captured over 60% of all votes cast.
    2. Obama’s win rate of just 50.5% is significantly lower than the average win rate and, in fact, the lowest in our dataset.
    3. A few commentators have noticed Obama’s problems in the Court, attributing them to Obama himself. But because our data show a downward secular trend in presidential success ever since the Reagan years, it may be that the Obama administration is just the latest victim of a Court that has gradually been losing confidence in the executive branch.

Click here for the study (.pdf)
Click here for the article in the New York Times