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date: 23 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Understanding the conditions under which the Supreme Court sets its agenda is crucial to understanding Supreme Court behavior. After all, before the justices make any decision on the merits of a case, they must first decide whether to hear it at all. This chapter analyzes Supreme Court agenda-setting. It begins by describing the process justices employ to select cases to review. It examines how parties file certiorari petitions, the certiorari pool used to provide guidance to the justices, and the conferences in which justices vote to grant or deny review to cert petitions. The chapter then discusses four explanations political scientists have provided to explain the conditions under which justices set the agenda. The article concludes by examining limitations of existing scholarship and providing suggestions for future scholarship.

Keywords: Supreme Court, agenda-setting, certiorari, law clerks, cue theory, strategic model, limitations

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