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Responses of Federal District Judges to Court of Appeals Policies: An Exploration
The Western Political Quarterly
Vol. 33, No. 2 (Jun., 1980), pp. 217-224
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/447294
Page Count: 8
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Studies of policy-makers' responses to the policies of superior courts generally have focused upon single civil liberties decisions of the Supreme Court. This study seeks to provide a different perspective on this response process through a different kind of empirical focus: the responses of federal district judges to the evolving policies of the courts of appeals on the standard of patent validity from 1943 through 1974. These responses are examined through a set of path analyses in which district court policies are the major dependent variable and court of appeals policies the major independent variable. The findings indicate that court of appeals policies explain a significant but limited proportion of the variation in district court policies. These findings suggest that the courts of appeals, like the Supreme Court, serve as an important but less than overwhelming cue for subordinate judges.
The Western Political Quarterly © 1980 University of Utah