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May It Please the Chief? Opinion Assignments in the Rehnquist Court

Forrest Maltzman and Paul J. Wahlbeck
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 40, No. 2 (May, 1996), pp. 421-443
DOI: 10.2307/2111631
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111631
Page Count: 23
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
May It Please the Chief? Opinion Assignments in the Rehnquist Court
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Abstract

Majority opinion assignments made by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court can be accounted for with both organizational and attitudinal models of behavior. The likelihood that the Chief assigns an opinion to a justice depends upon the importance of each case, the size of the initial majority coalition, the timing of the decision, and each justice's expertise, efficiency, workload, and policy preferences. A discrete choice model is used to test a multivariate model of the assignments made by Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Chief Justice Rehnquist's assignments are determined by the Court's organizational needs, rather than the Chief's policy preferences.

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