Younger Judges Appear More Sympathetic to Executive Power
A paper in the February 2020 Journal of Law & Economics by Tom Campbell and Nathaniel Wilcox, “Younger Federal District Court Judges Favor Presidential Power,” finds that federal judges tend to be more supportive of executive power claims when they are younger, and that this may be a consequence that younger federal judges are influenced by the prospect of “promotion,” i.e. potential nomination to a higher court.
Here is the abstract:
From 1960 to 2015, opinions of US federal district court judges (trial judges) in cases involving challenges to executive branch authority show that these judges favor executive authority less as they age. We suggest that district judges know that elevation to the federal circuit court of appeals becomes increasingly improbable, and hence have less reason to cooperate with the executive, with advancing age. Political variables, seniority of judges, and other variables introduced as extra regressors do not reverse this main result, nor does it appear to be the product of cohort effects or selection off the district court. When there are contemporaneous vacancies on their circuit courts, district judges in the 11 state circuits (but not the District of Columbia Circuit) are also more likely to favor the executive.
And here is some interesting discussion from the paper:
There is a possibility that all judges, regardless of their vintage, politics, or any
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