Toward an Actor-Based Measure of Supreme Court Case Salience: Information-Seeking and Engagement during Oral Arguments

Ryan C. Black, Maron W. Sorenson, Timothy R Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Case salience affects nearly every aspect of Supreme Court justices' behavior, yet a valid actor-based measure of salience has remained elusive. Researchers have instead relied on external proxy indicators, such as amicus curiae participation and media coverage, to explain justices' behavior. We propose a novel measurement of salience in which we use justices' differential levels of engagement to generate actor-based measures of case and justice-level salience. Focusing on justices' behavior during oral argument, we contend that the more engaged the justices are in a case-defined by the number of words they speak-the more salient the case.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)804-818
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Volume66
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Keywords

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • case salience
  • judicial politics
  • oral arguments

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