Language Complexity And The Supreme Court Decision To Grant Certiorari

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Abby Hord (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Ellen Key

Abstract: Each term 8,000 cases are submitted to the Supreme Court seeking certiorari; a mere 1% of these petitions are granted to be orally argued before the Court. Amicus curiae briefs are often filed in hopes of improving the chances of receiving a favorable cert decision. Existing literature explains that briefs of quality are viewed more favorably by the justices and their clerks, along with briefs submitted by influential groups. The literature does not provide an explanation for the elements included in certain briefs that establish this level of quality, focusing instead on the names of those filing them. I describe the influential language, brief length, and complexity included that influences the Court’s decision to grant or deny cert. I created measures of language complexity and evaluated these variables in regards to specific interest groups. My findings mirror those in the literature. The number of amicus briefs submitted to the Court influence decisions made at the cert stage, however there is little variation in the length of words included in briefs that were either denied or granted. The same holds true when controlling for word length per type of amicus as well.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Hord, A. (2019). Language Complexity And The Supreme Court Decision To Grant Certiorari. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
Amicus Curiae, Certiorari, Language Complexity, Supreme Court

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