The Allocation of Supreme Court Agenda Attention: Institutional Issue Dynamics Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Williams, Ryan
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Competing theories of the Supreme Court's issue agenda focus on the Court's ability to set its own agenda, how it responds endogenously to the issue agendas of the legislative and executive branches, and whether or not the Court responds to other exogenous pressures. In this paper, I present a model capable of evaluating these different perspectives. Using data from the Policy Agendas Project, I estimate a vector autoregression (VAR) model to examine the Court's attention devoted to four major policy topic areas: civil rights and liberties; law, crime, and family issues; labor and employment; and transportation. Results show that the Supreme Court's issue agenda is endogenously responsive to and drives the issue agendas of the other branches with respect to crime. However, other dynamics emerge for the other major topic areas, suggesting the importance of exogenous pressures and internal, institutional mechanisms in the Court's agenda setting process. Such findings indicate a need to supplement inter-branch explanations of Court agenda setting behavior with further research addressing the exogenous determinants of the Court's issue agenda.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Baumgartner, Frank
  • McGuire, Kevin T.
  • Stimson, James
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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