How do political actors use rhetoric after an initial policy battle? We explore factors that lead Supreme Court justices to integrate disagreeable rhetoric into opinions. Although disagreeable language has negative consequences, we posit that justices pay this cost for issues with high personal significance. At the same time, we argue that integrating disagreeable rhetoric has a deleterious effect on the institution by reducing majority coalition size. Examining opinions from 1946 to 2011 using text-based measures of disagreeable rhetoric, we model the language of opinion writing as well as explore the consequences for coalition size. Our findings suggest serious implications for democratic institutions and political rhetoric.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
An online appendix with supplementary material is available at https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/suppl/10.1086/709968.
Zilis, Michael A. and Wedeking, Justin, "The Sources and Consequences of Political Rhetoric: Issue Importance, Collegial Bargaining, and Disagreeable Rhetoric in Supreme Court Opinions" (2020). Political Science Faculty Publications. 11.
Available for download on Friday, October 01, 2021