Managing the Supreme Court: The Chief Justice, Management, and Consensus Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015 The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Inc. All rights reserved. In this article, we draw on a prominent model of public management to develop a preliminary theoretical approach to understanding the role of the chief justice in Supreme Court decision-making. In particular, we argue that the Court may seek legitimacy through greater unanimity and discuss how the leadership of the chief justice can facilitate that effort. We assess a hypothesis derived from this theory, showing greater agreement among the justices as the incumbent chief justice's tenure in office increases. We argue that these results provide support for further attention to and development of a public administration-based approach to the study of Supreme Court decision-making. The application of public administration to judicial politics provides further evidence of management dynamics in American institutions.

altmetric score

  • 9.83

author list (cited authors)

  • Ura, J. D., & Flink, C. M.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • April 2016