This article investigates two issues unexplored in studies of the relationship between panel composition and voting on three-judge panels of the Courts of Appeals: how often will panel composition influence case outcomes, and how has the relationship between panel composition and panel voting changed over time? The author shows that while long stretches of single-party control of the presidency in the first half of the twentieth century often produced a high rate of panels with three judges from the same party, frequent turnover of White House control in the past half century has helped ensure that a majority of panels are composed of at least one judge from each party. The author also presents the first systematic longitudinal analysis of panel composition and judicial behavior, showing that the relationship between the two is a relatively recent phenomenon. These findings have important implications for understanding collegial behavior on the Courts of Appeals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science
- Courts of appeals
- Panel composition
- Panel effects