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Institutional Arrangements and the Dynamics of Agenda Formation in the U.S. Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals

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The manner in which agenda change occurs demonstrates how institutional arrangements influence agenda priorities in the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeals. A neo-institutional theoretic perspective is employed to examine the dynamics of agenda formation in these courts. The article finds that the Supreme Court's agenda choices influence the decisions of litigants, interest groups, and lawyers to appeal certain cases to the Courts of Appeals. While the Supreme Court's agenda primarily is influenced by internal factors, it is constrained by agenda changes in the appeals courts. Critically, it is shown that these federal appellate courts exist within an endogenous system with respect to agenda formation, as both courts respond to agenda changes made in the other over time.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Political Science at Western Michigan University

Publication date: 2006-07-01

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