A Competing Risks Model of Supreme Court Vacancies, 1789–1992

A Competing Risks Model of Supreme Court Vacancies, 1789–1992 We hypothesize that Supreme Court justices will consider the likely ideological disposition of their successor in their decision to retire or remain on the Court. Furthermore, because a justice's decision to remain on the Court places him or her “at risk” of dying in office, it is necessary to consider a model of both voluntary and involuntary vacancies. Our study examines three broad classes of factors influential to Supreme Court vacancies: personal considerations, institutional context, and political influences. We assess the factors that affect the probability of a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court due to mortality and retirement at the individual level from 1789 to 1992, using a competing risk duration model and incorporating time-varying covariates. We find significant differences in the hazards of vacancy due to these two causes, and a number of factors are shown to influence the probability of a vacancy, including a general propensity to retire near the beginning of presidents' second terms. However, we find little evidence of the influence of political factors in either retirement-or death-related vacancies, suggesting that justices who retire do not generally do so for expressly political reasons and those who die in office rarely do so as a result of “holding out” for a like-minded replacement. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

A Competing Risks Model of Supreme Court Vacancies, 1789–1992

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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers-Plenum Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2000 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1006667601289
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

We hypothesize that Supreme Court justices will consider the likely ideological disposition of their successor in their decision to retire or remain on the Court. Furthermore, because a justice's decision to remain on the Court places him or her “at risk” of dying in office, it is necessary to consider a model of both voluntary and involuntary vacancies. Our study examines three broad classes of factors influential to Supreme Court vacancies: personal considerations, institutional context, and political influences. We assess the factors that affect the probability of a vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court due to mortality and retirement at the individual level from 1789 to 1992, using a competing risk duration model and incorporating time-varying covariates. We find significant differences in the hazards of vacancy due to these two causes, and a number of factors are shown to influence the probability of a vacancy, including a general propensity to retire near the beginning of presidents' second terms. However, we find little evidence of the influence of political factors in either retirement-or death-related vacancies, suggesting that justices who retire do not generally do so for expressly political reasons and those who die in office rarely do so as a result of “holding out” for a like-minded replacement.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 16, 2004

References

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