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Lee Epstein
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Lee Epsteing Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor
Untitled Page INTERVIEWING U.S. SUPREME COURT JUSTICES AND INTEREST GROUP ATTORNEYS
Published in 1990. Judicature 73 (December): 196-198. (Revised version of a paper delivered at the 1986 meeting of the Southern Political Science Association.)

Lee Epstein

Introduction

The debate regarding “hard” and “soft” data in the judicial subfield is growing, is tumultuous and, ultimately, is very important to future research efforts.  My aim is to describe the possible uses of one source of soft date—interviews—with an eye toward moving the debate from the abstract to the concrete.

An important question to address in this debate is often relegated by both sides to a lesser status: Why bother interviewing elites?  More specifically, what are the possible uses of intensive interviews with judges or others involved in the judicial process?  A general consensus emerges among methodologists that intensive, elite, unscheduled interviews have three general purposes: exploratory, main research instruments and supplementary.  These purposes have direct application to judicial research.

Click here for the article (.pdf).
Click here for the conference paper (.pdf)