Oral Arguments Before the Supreme Court: An Empirical Approach

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Oxford University Press, Apr 16, 2008 - Psychology - 208 pages
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Of all the steps in the Supreme Court's decision-making process, only one is visible to the public: the oral arguments. By carefully analyzing transcripts of all the oral arguments available to the public, Professor Wrightsman provides empirical answers to a number of questions about the operation of oral arguments. This book provides a model for understanding the dynamics of judicial decision making from an empirical perspective.
 

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Contents

Are They no Longer Essential?
3
2 Justices Views on the Significance of Oral Arguments
25
3 The Behavior of Advocates before the Supreme Court
43
4 Justices Questions and Statements
67
5 The Idiosyncratic Nature of Justices Behavior during Oral Arguments
85
6 Oral Arguments in a Landmark Case
105
7 Predicting Votes from Oral Arguments
127
8 Contentious Issues
147
References
167
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About the author (2008)

Lawrence S. Wrightsman (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1959) was professor of psychology at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Wrightsman authored or edited ten other books relevant to the legal system, including Psychology and the Legal System (4th edition, coauthored with Michael T. Nietzel and William H. Fortune), The American Jury on Trial (coauthored with Saul M. Kassin), and Judicial Decision Making: Is Psychology Relevant? He was invited to contribute the entry on the law and psychology for the recently published Encyclopedia of Psychology, sponsored by the American Psychological Association and published by Oxford University Press. His research topics included jury selection procedures, reactions to police interrogations, and the impact of judicial instructions. He also served as a trial consultant and testified as an expert witness. Wrightsman is a former president of both the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. In 1998 he was the recipient of a Distinguished Career Award from the American Psychology-Law Society. This award has been made on only six occasions in the 30-year history of the organization; the preceding awardee was U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun.

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