Chapter 1: Actors in the Judicial Process

Section 1: Lawyers

Lawyers are an integral part of our justice system without whom the entire process collapses. Courts are passive institutions and without lawyers seeking resolutions to conflicts, both civil and criminal, the courts would have little to no purpose and little to no role to play in politics and policy. In our section on lawyers, we offer two avenues of research on lawyers. The first lane examines the lawyers—who are they and why does that matter. In Riddle with Exclusivity, Austin Carsh, in partial fulfillment of his Honors BS in Political Science at Oregon State University, examines the demographic characteristics of the Supreme Court Bar—the men and women who argue before the justices with some frequency. While women and people of color have made inroads in terms of representation in law school classes and the profession in general, Carsh finds that this elite level of the profession is still woefully lacking in diversity. His conclusion connects this finding to important concerns regarding the Court’s agenda and legitimacy. The second avenue examines how lawyers react to losing before the Supreme Court. Too often, a loss before the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly a loss on a constitutional question, is sold as a death knell for the underlying position or idea. Professor Richard S. Price reveals that lawyers are not so easily dismissed. Constitutional lawyers are capable of taking a loss before the justices and reinventing their case at the state level, winning on a smaller stage and helping to develop state law that is too often ignored for the larger federal arena.


1.1 Carsh, Austin. “Riddled with Exclusivity: The Homogeneity of the Supreme Court Bar in the Roberts Court.”

1.2 Price, Richard S. “On Remand: Legal Strategies After Supreme Court Losses.”


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Open Judicial Politics Copyright © 2020 by Rorie Spill Solberg, Jennifer Segal Diascro, & Eric J. Waltenburg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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