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July 08, 2009


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Michael F. Martin

For example, petitioners win about 62 percent of the cases before the court but if the petitioner is asked fewer questions than the respondent, that probability increases to 71 percent. On the other hand, if the petitioner is asked more questions than the respondent, the probability that the respondent will win increases from 38 to 50 percent.

What are the standard deviations?


If this correlation is meaningful (i.e. more questions from a PANEL, less likely to win), then specific JUDGES on a panel that ask a party more questions (relative to their usual number of questions and/or relative to other judges on the panel) should be more likely to vote against the party. Have these findings been validated by running this test?


What about Justice Thomas? I heard he rarely asks questions. It'd be interesting to know how he votes the few times he speaks up.

David Schraub

I unfortunately don't have the standard deviations. I do know that with the exception of Justice Kennedy (for whom there is no correlation in any direction) and Justice Thomas (who, as Alvin indicates, doesn't ask enough questions for him to be measured), the findings do hold solid for the individual justices.

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