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Lee Epstein
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Lee Epsteing Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor

DISCERNING THE GOALS OF U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICES
Paper presented at the 1998 meeting of the Conference Group on the Scientific Study of Judicial Politics, East Lansing, MI.

Lee Epstein
Andrew D. Martin
Gregory A. Caldeira
Jeffrey A. Segal

To what extent should judicial specialists continue to place exclusive emphasis on the policy motivation to the neglect of others, such as the maintenance of institutional integrity? The answer yielded by our game-theoretic analysis is that sole reliance on the policy goal may be misplaced. While it is occasionally true that different motivations will lead justices to make similar choices (thereby creating the problem of behavioral equivalence), this does not—at least in the theoretical world—hold for the phenomenon we examine here, dissents from denials of cert. Rather our model implies that justices who value integrity over policy will behave in fundamentally different ways than those who make the tradeoff in the other direction.

Click here for the paper (.pdf).