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Ryan J. Owens

Bio: Ryan J. Owens is an academic researcher from University of Wisconsin-Madison. The author has contributed to research in topics: Supreme court & Majority opinion. The author has an hindex of 17, co-authored 60 publications receiving 1041 citations. Previous affiliations of Ryan J. Owens include Washington University in St. Louis & Harvard University.


Papers
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TL;DR: The authors show that while justices are largely motivated by policy concerns, jurisprudential considerations can prevail over their policy goals when policy goals and legal considerations collide, policy gives way.
Abstract: For decades, scholars have searched for data to show that Supreme Court justices are influenced not only by policy goals but also by legal considerations. Analyzing justices’ agenda-setting decisions, we show that while justices are largely motivated by policy concerns, jurisprudential considerations can prevail over their policy goals. When policy goals and legal considerations collide, policy gives way. If legal considerations and policy goals align toward the same end, law liberates justices to pursue policy. In short, we find that at the intersection of law and politics, law is both a constraint on and an opportunity for justices.

101 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors provide a systematic examination of the clarity of Supreme Court opinions and discover five important results: Justices systematically craft clearer opinions than others, and all justices write clearer dissents than majority opinions while minimum winning coalitions produce the clearest majority opinions.
Abstract: Legal clarity is important to understand and measure because of its connection to the rule of law. We provide the first systematic examination of the clarity of Supreme Court opinions and discover five important results. First, certain justices systematically craft clearer opinions than others. Justices Scalia and Breyer write the clearest opinions, while Justice Ginsburg consistently writes the most complex opinions. Second, ideology does not predict clarity in majority or concurring opinions. Third, all justices write clearer dissents than majority opinions, while minimum winning coalitions produce the clearest majority opinions. Fourth, justices across the board write clearer opinions in criminal procedure cases than in any other issue area. Finally, opinions that formally alter Court precedent render less clear law, potentially leading to a cycle of legal ambiguity.

78 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors employ the first systematic empirical analysis that relies on archival data to examine whether the separation of powers influences justices' agenda votes and find that justices are uninfluenced by the separation.
Abstract: This study employs the first systematic, empirical analysis that relies on archival data to examine whether the separation of powers influences justices' agenda votes. It spatially models how justices set the Court's agenda under a sincere approach as well as an SOP approach and compares the competing expectations derived therefrom. The results suggest that legislative and executive preferences fail to influence justices' votes. Across every model tested, the data show justices uninfluenced by the separation of powers. These results provide a strong rejoinder to SOP models, since the Court's agenda stage is the most likely stage of the decision making process to show signs of an SOP effect.

74 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The authors show that while justices are largely motivated by policy concerns, jurisprudential considerations can prevail over their policy goals when policy goals and legal considerations collide, policy gives way.
Abstract: For decades, scholars have searched for data to show that Supreme Court justices are influenced not only by policy goals but also by legal considerations. Analyzing justices’ agenda-setting decisions, we show that while justices are largely motivated by policy concerns, jurisprudential considerations can prevail over their policy goals. When policy goals and legal considerations collide, policy gives way. If legal considerations and policy goals align toward the same end, law liberates justices to pursue policy. In short, we find that at the intersection of law and politics, law is both a constraint on and an opportunity for justices.

74 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors provide a systematic examination of the clarity of Supreme Court opinions and discover five important results: certain justices systematically craft clearer opinions than others, and all justices write clearer dissents than majority opinions.
Abstract: Legal clarity is important to understand and measure because of its connection to the rule of law. We provide the first systematic examination of the clarity of Supreme Court opinions and discover five important results. First, certain justices systematically craft clearer opinions than others. Justices Scalia and Breyer write the clearest opinions while Justice Ginsburg consistently writes the most complex opinions. Second, ideology does not predict clarity. Third, all justices write clearer dissents than majority opinions, while minimum winning coalitions produce the clearest majority opinions. Fourth, justices across the board write clearer opinions in criminal procedure cases than in any other issue area. Finally, opinions that formally alter Court precedent render less clear law, potentially leading to a cycle of legal ambiguity.

72 citations


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TL;DR: McQueen et al. as mentioned in this paper presented a special symposium issue of Social Identities under the editorship of Griffith University's Rob McQueen and UBC's Wes Pue and with contributions from McQueen, Ian Duncanson, Renisa Mawani, David Williams, Emma Cunliffe, Chidi Oguamanam, W. Wesley Pue, Fatou Camara, and Dianne Kirkby.
Abstract: Scholars of culture, humanities and social sciences have increasingly come to an appreciation of the importance of the legal domain in social life, while critically engaged socio-legal scholars around the world have taken up the task of understanding "Law's Empire" in all of its cultural, political, and economic dimensions. The questions arising from these intersections, and addressing imperialisms past and present forms the subject matter of a special symposium issue of Social Identities under the editorship of Griffith University's Rob McQueen, and UBC's Wes Pue and with contributions from McQueen, Ian Duncanson, Renisa Mawani, David Williams, Emma Cunliffe, Chidi Oguamanam, W. Wesley Pue, Fatou Camara, and Dianne Kirkby. This paper introduces the volume, forthcoming in late 2007. The central problematique of this issue has previously been explored through the 2005 Law's Empire conference, an informal but vibrant postcolonial legal studies network.

1,813 citations

Journal ArticleDOI

517 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Cox and McCubbins as discussed by the authors show that a form of party government has been present continuously in the House of Representatives since the adoption of the Reed Rules in the 1890s.
Abstract: Setting the Agenda: Responsible Party Government in the U.S. House of Representatives. By Gary W. Cox and Mathew D. McCubbins. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 336p. $70.00 cloth, $24.99 paper. In this volume, Gary W. Cox and Mathew D. McCubbins elaborate on the “cartel” theory of parties in the U.S. Congress that was first set forth in their earlier book, Legislative Leviathan (1993), and present a substantial body of new evidence in support of this theory. The central thesis of the new book is that a form of party government has been present continuously in the House of Representatives since the adoption of the Reed Rules in the 1890s.

453 citations