Why the Supreme Court agrees to hear cases is among the most important topics in judicial politics. However, existing theories have overlooked a key factor: the relative ideologies of the litigating parties. We develop and test a new theory that explicitly incorporates the ideology of the litigating parties in explaining which cert petitions the Court is likely to grant. Specifically, we theorize that cert petitions are more successful when (1) there is great ideological distance between the two opposing parties and (2) the lower-court appeals panel is closest ideologically to the party who won at the appellate level. In these cases, the party petitioning the Court to intervene becomes the “Odd Party Out,” which conveys information about both the importance of the case and the possibility of ideological bias against the petitioner. We test this theory using a new dataset on the identities and ideologies of advocates and judges for federal court cases that generated cert petitions from 2003 to 2015. We find strong support for the theory: petitions are more likely to be granted when the petitioning party is the ideological Odd Party Out.
What are the downstream political consequences of state activity explicitly targeting a minority group? This question is well studied in the comparative context, but less is known about the effects of explicitly racist state activity in liberal democracies such as the United States. We investigate this question by looking at an important event in American history---the internment of people of Japanese ancestry during World War II. We find that Japanese Americans who were interned or had family who were interned are significantly less politically engaged and that these patterns of demobilization increase with internment length. Using an identification strategy leveraging quasi-random camp assignment, we also find that camp experience matters: those who went to camps that witnessed violence or strikes experienced sharper declines. Taken together, our findings contribute to a growing literature documenting the demobilizing effects of ethnically targeted detention and expand our understanding of these forces within the U.S.
DavidLatIt looks like the so-called “Trump bump” in #lawschool applications continues. The past four years, especially the last few weeks, have shown how lawyers and judges can make a difference. #lawtwittert.co/oCMJWymh8F