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Introduction
General
 
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Introduction
Technical
 
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Chapter 1
A Realistic Theory of Judicial Behavior
 
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Chapter 2
The Previous Empirical Literature
 
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Chapter 3
The Supreme Court
 
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Chapter 4
The Courts of Appeals
 
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Chapter 5
The District Courts and the Selection Effect
 
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Chapter 6
Dissents and Dissent Aversion
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Chapter 7
The Questioning of Lawyers at Oral Argument
 
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Chapter 8
The Auditioners
 
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Conclusion
The Way Forward
 
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Datasets
Full inventory
 
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Chapter 6
Dissents and Dissent Aversion

INTRODUCTION

This chapter uses our model of judicial behavior to explore dissent in the Supreme Court and the courts of appeals, emphasizing what we have referred to in earlier chapters as "dissent aversion,"1 which sometimes causes a judge not to dissent even when he disagrees with the decision. Our data for the Supreme Court are all the Court's opinions in the 1963, 1980, and 1990 terms, with the exception of 5 cases decided by an equally divided vote and 11 cases in which there was no majority opinion. We chose those years to give us opinions in three different Chief Justiceships, those of Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist.

Our court of appeals data consist primarily of a random sample of 1025 published opinions (about 30 per circuit) in the 19891991 period, drawn from the Songer database. We selected that period so that we could obtain a nearly complete history of citations to each majority and dissenting opinion, since court of appeals opinions are rarely cited more than 20 years after they were decided.2 (The citation data are from Lexis and Westlaw searches.) We excluded 58 opinions because of the coding errors in the Songer database discussed in chapter 4, and 7 en banc decisions, which, however, we discuss separately. Our Songer sample unfortunately includes only 80 dissenting opinions, fewer than 8 percent of the decisions in the database. But we also draw on the Sunstein database, and that gives us another 422 such opinions.

1 Richard A. Posner, How Judges Think 3134 (2008), introduced the term and presented an informal model.

2 A recent study shows that judges are about 75 percent less likely to cite a 20-year-old Supreme Court or court of appeals precedent than a recent one. Ryan C. Black and James F. Spriggs II, "The Depreciation of U.S. Supreme Court Precedent" (Jan. 3, 2011), http:// polisci.wustl.edu/files/polisci/black spriggs depreciation.pdf (visited Dec. 9, 2011).


CSV Comma Delimited Text (ASCII)
DTA Stata (Version 10 or later)
POR SPSS Portable File (Version 13 or later)
RDATA R Data Format (Version 2.0.0 or later)
SAV SPSS Data File (Version 13 or later)
XLSX Microsoft Excel Worksheet (Version 2007 or later)
XPT SAS Transport Format

Ch6CoA
Ch6CoA.csv.zip
Ch6CoA.dta.zip
Ch6CoA.por.zip
Ch6CoA.Rdata.zip
Ch6CoA.sav.zip
Ch6CoA.xlsx.zip
Ch6CoA.xpt.zip

Ch6CoAStacked
Ch6CoAStacked.csv.zip
Ch6CoAStacked.dta.zip
Ch6CoAStacked.por.zip
Ch6CoAStacked.Rdata.zip
Ch6CoAStacked.sav.zip
Ch6CoAStacked.xlsx.zip
Ch6CoAStacked.xpt.zip

Ch6SCtCitation
Ch6SCtCitation.csv.zip
Ch6SCtCitation.dta.zip
Ch6SCtCitation.por.zip
Ch6SCtCitation.Rdata.zip
Ch6SCtCitation.sav.zip
Ch6SCtCitation.xlsx.zip
Ch6SCtCitation.xpt.zip

Ch6Workload
Ch6Workload.csv.zip
Ch6Workload.dta.zip
Ch6Workload.por.zip
Ch6Workload.Rdata.zip
Ch6Workload.sav.zip
Ch6Workload.xlsx.zip
Ch6Workload.xpt.zip


For a full listing of available datasets, view the Dataset Inventory.
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Copyright 2012