Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Quality of Oral Arguments from States' Attorneys

Presenter Information

Kaylee JohnsonFollow

Class

Article

Department

Political Science

Faculty Mentor

Greg Goelzhauser

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

In my thesis, I evaluate the anecdotal statements during the Burger Court era that expressed frustration with the poor performance of states' attorneys before the Supreme Court. This led the National Association of Attorneys General to implement the Supreme Court Clearinghouse Project in an effort to improve the quality of states' efforts before the Court. Pulling from Justice Blackmun's ratings of attorneys in oral arguments, I conduct a quantitative analysis to determine whether such efforts actually led to an improvement in states' performance in Supreme Court litigation. I take the 1,142 cases in which states were involved in from 1970-1993 and record Blackmun's ratings of all state attorneys. I compare the average performance of state attorneys before and after the Clearinghouse Project was implemented in 1982. I then compare the data on state attorneys to a dataset provided by Johnson, Wahlbeck, and Spriggs on the average performance of all attorneys Justice Blackmun graded.

Start Date

4-9-2015 1:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM

Quality of Oral Arguments from States' Attorneys

In my thesis, I evaluate the anecdotal statements during the Burger Court era that expressed frustration with the poor performance of states' attorneys before the Supreme Court. This led the National Association of Attorneys General to implement the Supreme Court Clearinghouse Project in an effort to improve the quality of states' efforts before the Court. Pulling from Justice Blackmun's ratings of attorneys in oral arguments, I conduct a quantitative analysis to determine whether such efforts actually led to an improvement in states' performance in Supreme Court litigation. I take the 1,142 cases in which states were involved in from 1970-1993 and record Blackmun's ratings of all state attorneys. I compare the average performance of state attorneys before and after the Clearinghouse Project was implemented in 1982. I then compare the data on state attorneys to a dataset provided by Johnson, Wahlbeck, and Spriggs on the average performance of all attorneys Justice Blackmun graded.