In The Conditional Effects of Ideology and Institutional Structure on Judicial Voting in State Supreme Courts, Jeff Yates (Georgia, Poli Sci) et al. test an intriguing hypothesis: Whether and, if so, how a state court's structure influences litigant strategy and with state supreme court case outcomes. Their excerpted abstract follows:
"We reconcile these perspectives [Law and Economics -- LE and Ideological Voting -- IV] by examining tort cases in state supreme courts from 1995 through 1998. The contrasting perspectives stem from the fundamental institutional processes upon which each perspective is based. The LE perspective dominates in states without lower appellate courts (LAC) where process of appeal in these state supreme courts is litigant-driven, with win-rates hovering at fifty percent and deviations from that norm accounted for by forces influencing litigant uncertainty. The ideological voting predicted by the IV literature occurs primarily in the context of state supreme court strategic reversals of LAC decisions - a process commensurate that operating with the U.S. Supreme Court. When it comes to judicial outcomes, institutional structure is a critical element shaping the influence of litigant strategy and judge ideology."