“The Influence of Home State Reputation on Native Born Federal Circuit Court Judges” with Ryan Owens, University of Wisconsin

Event time: 
Wednesday, October 5, 2016 - 12:00pm through 1:15pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), A002
77 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Ryan Owens, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Event description: 


We examine whether state public opinion influences the voting behavior of federal circuit court of appeals judges who are born, raised, and educated in those states. Building on social psychology literature, we argue that such native born judges are likely to want to be respected in their home states and will change their voting behavior to manage their reputations there. Consistent with this theory, the data show state public opinion leads to as much as a 65% average change in these judges’ votes. What is more, the influence of state public mood holds even after we account for observationally equivalent theories. The results suggest that these native born judges are motivated to protect their reputations, and that scholars should consider examining other judicial motivations as well.

Speaker: Ryan Owens is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He also enjoys an affiliate status with the law school and is an Honorary Fellow in the Institute for Legal Studies. Owens studies judicial politics and American political institutions. His work analyzes, among other things, agenda setting on the United States Supreme Court, strategic behavior on the United States Courts of Appeals, and unilateral executive behavior. Dr. Owens’s work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, the Georgetown Law Journal, the William & Mary Law Review, the University of Illinois Law Review, Law & Society Review, and the Journal of Law and Courts. He has also published two books with Cambridge University Press.

Open to: 
General Public
Event type 
Seminar, Workshop