Agenda Setting and Attention to Precedent in the U.S. Federal Courts

Duck-Mayr JB, Hansford TG, Spriggs JF. Agenda Setting and Attention to Precedent in the U.S. Federal Courts. Journal of Law and Courts. 2021;9(2):233-260.
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Abstract

To what degree is judicial agenda setting top-down or bottom-up? Existing studies lack evidence of the frequency or magnitude of these two processes. We conceptualize the judicial agenda as the legal questions/rules receiving judicial attention, measure it using citations to Supreme Court opinions, and estimate vector autoregression models to identify how each level of court initiates or responds to variation in attention to precedent at other levels of the judiciary. The Supreme Court exerts some top-down control, but agenda setting is more often bottom-up, revealing lower courts are more integral to setting the federal judicial agenda than previously understood.
Last updated on 07/18/2022