Opinion Writing in the U.S. Supreme Court

Authored by: Pamela C. Corley , Artemus Ward

Routledge Handbook of Judicial Behavior

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  October  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138913356
eBook ISBN: 9781315691527
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315691527.ch10

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Abstract

This chapter reviews the literature on opinion writing, focusing on the U.S. Supreme Court. Beyond the vote on the merits, the opinion of the court matters, and understanding how the opinion-writing process works is essential to understanding the development of the law. This chapter argues that the opinion-writing process takes place at each point that a case moves through the Court. Through an overview of the research on agenda setting, oral argument, opinion assignment, the influence of law clerks in writing opinions, coalition formation, concurrences and dissents, and research analyzing the content of court opinions, we discuss a holistic picture of opinion writing and avenues for future research.

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