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"Freshman Effects" for Supreme Court Justices

Timothy M. Hagle
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov., 1993), pp. 1142-1157
DOI: 10.2307/2111547
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111547
Page Count: 16
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"Freshman Effects" for Supreme Court Justices
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Abstract

Over the years, there has been substantial interest in whether new Supreme Court justices experience what have been known as "freshman effects." The results of several studies examining various aspects of the effects are, at best, mixed. I offer four reasons for these mixed results. First, most previous studies test the new justice's behavior against that of the other justices, rather than his or her own later behavior. Second, many previous studies focus on opinion writing rather than voting behavior. Third, most previous studies have not considered possible differences from one issue area to another. Fourth, previous studies did not control for the direction of the lower court decision. After establishing that some justices do experience these effects, I examine possible explanations as to why some justices experience them and others do not.

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