|Bulletin n. 1/2017
Ali S. Masood, Benjamin J. Kassow, Donald R. Songer
|Supreme Court Precedent in a Judicial Hierarchy
|in American Politics Research , Volume 45, Issue 3 , 2017 , 403Ė434
|We offer a novel theory on Supreme Court impact that makes several key contributions beyond existing accounts. We argue that policy-oriented justices are particularly attentive to the impact of their precedents within the U.S. Courts of Appeals. We provide a framework in which both Supreme Court and circuit-level influences drive U.S. Courts of Appeals responses to the Supreme Courtís precedents. Principally, we argue that the Supreme Courtís use of its summary decisions, which explicitly reference its formally argued decisions, increase circuit court utility of the High Courtís precedents. We test our predictions using new data on appeals court responses to the Supreme Courtís precedents. The empirical results support our account and shed new light on the hierarchical dynamic within the American federal judiciary.