An Empirical Study of the Political Party Balance Requirement of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and Its Predecessor-Court, the United States Court of Military Appeals, from 1951-2016
AuthorAnderson, David Allen
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This study attempted to determine if the political party of a judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces from 1951 to 2016 had any impact on a judge’s vote. A database was compiled of all the votes taken by the judges in all the Court’s published cases in which there was at least one dissent. This database included a listing of each case, the outcome of the case below, the vote of each appellate judge (whether for the government or for the appellant), and the case subtype by legal issue involved. A logistic regression was then conducted to investigate the relationship between political affiliation, prior military service, and elite law school attendance and voting for the appellant. A logistic regression was also conducted to investigate if among five case subtypes, political affiliation was related to the vote. The results were as follows: (1) political affiliation was not significantly related to a vote for the government or the appellant; (2) prior military service was associated with decreased odds of a vote for the appellant; (3) attending an elite law school was associated with an increased odds of voting for the appellant; (4) in cases involving speedy trial/speedy review, Democrat judges were less likely to vote for the appellant; (5) in cases involving challenges for cause and ineffective assistance of counsel, Democrat judges were more likely to vote for the appellant; and (6) in cases involving command influence and jurisdiction, political affiliation was not related to the vote for the government or the appellant.