Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

We began this book in the hope of shedding new light on the U.S. courts of appeals. To do so required help of both a personal and a professional sort from many individuals. First and foremost, we owe a large debt of gratitude to all the judges who gave their time to speak candidly with us...

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Introduction: The Courts of Appeals in the U.S. Legal System

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pp. 1-10

For much of their history, the U.S. courts of appeals have toiled in obscurity, well out of the limelight of political controversy. But as the number of appeals has increased dramatically in recent decades, while the number of cases heard by the Supreme Court has remained the same...

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1. The Judges and Cases

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pp. 11-29

Most scholarship pertaining to the courts of appeals is limited to attempts to explain the ultimate decisions of the courts. Much less is known about the processes used by the courts to reach those decisions. This book fills in many of the gaps concerning how the courts of appeals operate on...

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2. The Preliminaries: Setting the Agenda, Oral Argument, and Assigning the Opinion of the Court

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pp. 30-86

Much happens before the announcement of a U.S. Court of Appeals decision. The existing scholarship, however, virtually ignores these procedures. Although significant research attention has been devoted to the U.S. courts of appeals (e.g., Cohen 2002; Cross 2007; Hettinger...

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3. Decision Making and Writing the Opinion of the Court

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pp. 87-131

This chapter describes the process of decision making, particularly the important process of arriving at the opinion of the court. In contrast to the extensive literature on the patterns of votes of judges on U.S. appellate courts, much less is known about the process of arriving at the final...

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4. Separate Opinion Writing on the Courts of Appeals

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pp. 132-154

It has been said repeatedly within the legal culture that unanimity is to be preferred to dissent. This view of dissent was also expressed by the judges we interviewed and seems to fit what one Canadian scholar has called the “ ‘American model,’ where unanimity is desirable but not required...

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fivEExplaining Attitudinal andLegal Influences on Decisions

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pp. 155-177

Since at least the Clinton administration, there has been steadily increasing conflict in the U.S. Senate over the confirmation of nominations for service on the courts of appeals (Binder and Maltzman 2009). With the increasing polarization of politics in the United States, the courts, including...

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6. Strategic Accounts of Decision Making

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pp. 178-227

Strategic accounts of appellate court decision making, like attitudinal accounts, usually posit that judges have a goal of making good public policy that is consistent with their own personal political preferences (Cross and Tiller 1998; Epstein and Knight 1998, 2000; McNollgast 1995). But...

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7. The Congruence of Social Science and the Perceptions of the Judges

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pp. 228-236

We began this research with the idea of providing a comprehensive overview of the way in which the modern courts of appeals go about their business. In particular, we focused on the extent to which the perspectives of the judges are congruent with the picture painted in mainstream...

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Technical Appendix: Data and Methods

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pp. 237-248

Discrete changes. In most chapters, for binary regression models we estimated the substantive significance using what Long and Freese (2006) call “discrete changes”: the differences in the predicted probability that the dependent variable equals one when the independent variable of...

Notes

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pp. 249-260

Bibliography

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pp. 261-274

Index

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pp. 275-284