The majority of Supreme Court justices that previously served in the United States courts of appeals are significantly more likely to affirm cases appealed from the court on which they used to serve than decisions appealed from other circuits. This "home court advantage" is not predicted by the dominant theories of judicial decision making. I draw on insights from social psychology to build a theory to explain this bias. I propose that biases infavor of justices' home courts may reflect organisational identification which fosters in some justices a predisposition to support their home court and f or a tendency to support decisions of judges with whom the justice previously served. I also consider an alternative hypothesis: that previously identified circuit effects simply reflect ideological congruence between justices and the circuits from which they review cases. The analysis adjudicates between these alternative explanations. While some circuit effects reflect ideological considerations and some appear to be caused by interpersonal relationships between justices and their former colleagues, for most justices that have served since 1955, circuit effects reflect a depersonalized organizational commitment.
"The Home Court Advantage: Circuit Effects, Social Identity and Supreme Court Decision Making,"
Journal of Political Science: Vol. 43
, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.coastal.edu/jops/vol43/iss1/2
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