Journal of Law and Courts
Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association
Unable to directly control the policy articulated by the Supreme Court, dissenting justices are faced with the challenge of finding alternative ways to pursue their policy goals. We argue that one strategy available to them is to use their power over the language of a dissenting opinion to increase the media attention paid to a case. Our results show that cases with negative dissents attract more media coverage, which creates a variety of mechanisms through which a dissenter’s policy preferences could be realized, such as inducing Congress to take action, influencing public debate on the issue, and provoking further litigation. This finding ultimately suggests that dissenters, while disadvantaged, are not powerless to affect legal policy.
Bryan, Amanda C. and Ringsmuth, Eve M.. Jeremiad or Weapon of Words?: The Power of Emotive Language in Supreme Court Dissents. Journal of Law and Courts, 4, 1: 159–185, 2016. Retrieved from Loyola eCommons, Political Science: Faculty Publications and Other Works, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/684788
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© Law and Courts Organized Section of the American Political Science Association, 2016.