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The Supreme Court and Sex Discrimination: The Role of the Solicitor General

Jeffrey A. Segal and Cheryl D. Reedy
The Western Political Quarterly
Vol. 41, No. 3 (Sep., 1988), pp. 553-568
DOI: 10.2307/448602
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/448602
Page Count: 16
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The Supreme Court and Sex Discrimination: The Role of the Solicitor General
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Abstract

The intention of this article is to understand the effect of the solicitor general as amicus curiae on the sex discrimination cases heard by the Supreme Court. The solicitor general is of great interest as he is the representative of the incumbent administration in Court. Thus, support by the Court for his position can be seen as a measure of responsiveness to the executive branch. Assessing the independent impact of the solicitor general requires that other factors that might affect the Court's decisions must be controlled. Therefore, we develop a model of Supreme Court decision making that includes internal, external, dynamic and case factors. The model, estimated by probit, explains 58 percent of the variation in the cases and predicts 81 percent of the cases correctly. The role of the solicitor general is shown to be crucial, even after all other factors are controlled.

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