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2010

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David R Stras

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Why The Supreme Court Issues Plurality Opinions, David R. Stras, James F. Spriggs Mar 2010

Why The Supreme Court Issues Plurality Opinions, David R. Stras, James F. Spriggs

David R Stras

Many of the Supreme Court’s most important decisions, such as those involving executive power and the constitutionality of abortion regulations, are decided by plurality decision. Plurality opinions result when five or more Justices agree on the result in a particular case but no single rationale or opinion garners five votes. Many Justices, including William Rehnquist and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, have addressed the problems created by plurality opinions, such as interpretive difficulties in determining the Court’s holding, but few scholars have addressed plurality decisions other than in passing. In the first empirical analysis examining the occurrence of plurality decisions ...