In this dissertation, I examine the intersection of two phenomena in the judicial world: oral argument and the amicus curiae. I believe that friends of the court who have received permission to appear at oral argument may be key to understanding the influ-ence that third parties can have on the Supreme Court. This project examines oral amici from two different angles: first, from the point-of-view of explaining why they appear in cases; and second, from the perspective of whether oral amici have a recognizable impact upon the Court's decision making. The results in both instances are positive, suggesting that amici play an informational role for the Court, and that their presence does impact both the direction of the Court's decision as well as the votes of individual justices. In the conclusion, I discuss the relevance of these insights for the literature on swing voters and the future of appointments to the high court under the Obama administration.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. October 2009. Major:Political Science. Advisor: Timothy R. Johnson. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 196 pages.
Roberts, Matthew M. C..
The Amicus curiae at oral argument: new evidence of how and why third parties shape Supreme Court decisions..
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