Ideology, Status, and The Differential Success of Direct Parties Before the Supreme Court

Reginald S. Sheehan, William Mishler, Donald R. Songer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


A substantial literature on lower federal courts and state courts suggests that the “haves” usually come out ahead in litigation because they possess superior resources for it and they reap advantages from their repeat player status. We investigate the success of 10 categories of litigants before the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts to determine whether the resources or experience of litigants has effects on Supreme Court outcomes paralleling those found in the courts below. While different categories of litigants are found to have very different rates of success, those differences do not consistently favor litigants with greater resources. A time series analysis of the success of different categories of litigants over the 36 years studied suggests that the changing ideological complexion of the Court has a greater impact on the success of litigants than differences among litigants in resources and experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-471
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


Dive into the research topics of 'Ideology, Status, and The Differential Success of Direct Parties Before the Supreme Court'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this