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Lee Epstein
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Lee Epsteing Ethan A.H. Shepley Distinguished University Professor
Untitled Page ON THE TREATMENT OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE U.S SUPREME COURT, 1900-1986
Published in 1990. Journal of Politics 52 (2): 413-432. (Revised version of a paper delivered at the 1987 meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association.)

Lee Epstein
Charles D. Hadley

This article contemplates the role the U.S. Supreme Court has played in the maintenance of the American two-party system. Specifically we ask whether the Court has worked to constrain minor parties or to facilitate their efforts to become meaningful political entities.

Our examination of litigation involving political parties depicts a Court that has remained "neutral" toward minor and major parties; indeed, we found some evidence of a positive relationship between minor parties and Court decisions, but only after we controlled for three other variables: cycles of American politics, case issues, and Court eras. These and other findings lead us to a number of conclusions about the role the Court plays in the American political system.

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