A network approach to influence: interest group composition and judicial behavior
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How do individual qualities of interest groups and group interactions influence public policy through the courts? This research is grounded in two primary assumptions: 1) neither are all amicus briefs (formal tool to lobby the court) equal, nor do amicus-filing organizations have the same attributes, and 2) the behavior of Supreme Court justices is shaped by the qualities of actors external to the court. Through advanced statistical techniques, and the tools of network analysis, I build on previous scholarship to provide a large-scale study of how the qualities of amicus brief cosigners, and their interaction within their advocacy network over time, bear on judicial politics. Making use of the total population of amicus-filling organizations to U.S. Supreme Court cases between 1945 and 2012, chapter 1 uses a dynamic network analysis to investigate the evolution of organizational identity and coalition behavior of interest groups based on the issue area they advocate for. Chapter 2 investigates the impact of the ideological composition of interest groups supporting the litigants on the justices’ vote. Chapter 3 analyzes how decision at the agenda-setting stage interacts with outside lobbying to influence the opinion-writing process on merit. The results provide a more comprehensive picture a more comprehensive picture of judicial lobbying; a crucial piece in the operation of the American democracy.