Oral Arguments Before the Supreme Court


(American Psychology Law Society) Lawrence Wrightsman - Oral Arguments Before the Supreme Court_ An Empirical Approach -Oxford University Press, USA (2008)

This book series is sponsored by the American Psychology-Law Society (APLS). The APLS is an interdisciplinary organization devoted to scholarship, practice, and public service in psychology and law. Its goals include advancing the contributions of psychology to the understanding of law and legal institutions through basic and applied research; promoting the education of psychologists in matters of law and the education of legal personnel in matters of psychology; and informing the psychological and legal communities and the general public of current research, educational, and service activities in the field of psychology and law.


APLS membership includes psychologists from the academic research and clinical practice communities as well as members of the legal community. Research and practice are represented in both the civil and criminal legal arenas. The APLS has chosen Oxford University Press as a strategic partner in publishing because of its commitment to scholarship, quality, and the international dissemination of ideas. These strengths will help the APLS reach our goal of educating the psychology and legal professions as well as the general public about important developments in psychology and law. The focus of the book series reflects the diversity of the field of psychology and law, as we publish books on a broad range of topics.


This is the second book on the Supreme Court that Professor Lawrence Wrightsman has contributed to this series. In The Psychology of the Supreme Court, Wrightsman provided readers with a compelling and thoughtful analysis of how the nine Supreme Court justices behave both individually and as a group in reaching decisions that can affect all Americans. In Oral Arguments before the Supreme Court: An Empirical Approach, he continues his focus on the Supreme Court but turns his attention to the role that oral arguments play in Supreme Court decisions. He traces the history of oral arguments from the time of John Jay and the beginning of the Supreme Court to the present-day



Roberts Court. Challenging the notion that oral arguments play an insignificant role in decisions, Wrightsman provides a careful and detailed analysis of the transcripts of oral arguments and shows that oral arguments are central to the decision-making process. Suggesting that values and attitudes of the justices do matter, Wrightsman finds, for example, that justices tend to ask more questions of the losing side in ideological cases than in cases in which ideology is not a factor. His analysis also reveals that Justice Roberts has created a more relaxed atmosphere for oral arguments, one that appears more receptive to advocates than that of his predecessor, Justice Rehnquist.

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