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Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Mershon Center for International Security Studies

Gregory Caldiera and Jack Wright

Each year the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association (APSA) recognizes a book or journal article, 10 years or older, that has made a lasting impression on the law and courts field.  It is the organization’s way of honoring scholarly works that have stood the test of time and continue to influence thinking and research.

The 2013 recipients of the Lasting Contribution Award are Mershon affiliate Gregory Caldeira (right) and Jack Wright for their article “Organized Interests and Agenda Setting in the U.S. Supreme Court," published in the 1988 American Political Science Review. This award was given to Professors Caldeira and Wright at the 2013 APSA annual meeting held in Chicago on August 29, 2013.

As explained by the committee who selected the award winners, “The Caldeira and Wright article broke new ground in helping us understand Supreme Court decision-making, institutional agenda setting, and the role of interest groups.  In the quarter century since its publication this article continues to be influential in our study of law and courts.  Among several nominated works of exceptional quality, the Caldeira and Wright piece stood out as exemplary of the caliber of scholarship the Lasting Contribution Award was created to honor.” 
 
Below is an abstract of the article.  To read the full text, visit the Ohio State Library.  

Abstract: Participation as amicus curiae has long been an important tactic of organized interests in litigation before the U.S. Supreme Court. We analyze amicus curiae briefs filed before the decision on certiorari and assess their impact on the Court's selection of a plenary docket. We hypothesize that one or more briefs advocating or opposing certiorari increase the likelihood of its being granted. We test this hypothesis using data from the United States Reports and Briefs and Records of the United States Supreme Court for the 1982 term. The statistical analysis demonstrates that the presence of amicus curiae briefs filed prior to the decision on certiorari significantly and positively increases the chances of the justices' binding of a case over for full treatment--even after we take into account the full array of variables other scholars have hypothesized or shown to be substantial influences on the decision to grant or deny.