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Web of Proceedings - Francis Academic Press
Web of Proceedings - Francis Academic Press

Judicial Voting on Affirmative Action Cases: Why is the South different?

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DOI: 10.25236/icembe.2020.161


Tianyi Wu

Corresponding Author

Tianyi Wu


I analyze the voting of Courts of Appeals judges on affirmative action cases. Following Kastellec, I find that judges in the South tend to be much more conservative compared to those in Northern circuits and conservatism within southern circuits varies. I develop three theories to explain this pattern: unmeasured conservatism in race-related cases, learning experience from the deliberation of a minority judge, and the lasting influence of cultural legacies. Supplementing Kastellec’s dataset with additional data, I find support for the theories. While tentative, the findings have significant policy implications for reducing Southern exceptionalism.


Circuit fixed effect, panel effect, judicial voting, appellate courts