Indicators of Judicial Greatness: An Exploration into which Factors Influence or Predict wither Supreme Court Justices Will be Considered Historically Great

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While rankings of presidents are quite common, rankings of Supreme Court justices are much rarer. Herein I produce one and make use of both to see if perceived greatness of one actor can effect perceptions of greatness for the other. This work examines those influences that indicate success for Supreme Court Justices by seeking to determine what the historically great justices have in common. I first develop a composite score of all the Supreme Court Justices based on the limited previous ranking research and relevant indictors to rank the Justices 1-112. Next, I examine potential indicators of such success; previous experience, personal characteristics, conformation vote, and most interestingly the perceived greatness of their appointing president. This research finds a direct relationship between perceptions of presidential greatness and perceptions of judicial quality. Overall the great Justices are statistically more likely to be appointed by a great president, consistent with the appointment literature that often describes an appointer-appointee relationship as a legacy impacting one.


New Orleans, LA

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