Responding to my previous post, Ted Eisenberg notes:
"Brian Fitzpatrick’s study of class actions (forthcoming in 7:4 JELS) finds no evidence that the fee award was associated with the political affiliation of the judge who made the award. This result is similar to the finding in Individual Justice or Collective Legal Mobilization? Employment Discrimination Litigation in the Post Civil Rights United States, by Laura Beth Nielsen, Robert L. Nelson, and Ryon Lancaster, recently published in 7 J. Empirical Legal Stud. 175 (2010), which also found no political effect in an excellent dataset of employment discrimination cases, which, unlike most studies (but like Fitzpatrick’s study), included the mass of settlements. Since settlement is the modal outcome for civil litigation, including settled cases in studies of judge effects is important. The Nielsen et al. results echo the absence of judge effects in an earlier civil rights study, that included settlements, by Orley Ashenfelter, Stewart Schwab, and me. See Politics and the Judiciary: The Influence of Judicial Background on Case Outcomes, 24 J. Legal Studies 257-81 (1995).
This raises the following question: Is there a large-scale study of trial court level civil litigation, that includes settlements, that finds political or other judge effects?"