Experience counts: The chief justice, management tenure, and strategic behavior on the U.S. Supreme Court Academic Article uri icon


  • We develop and test a theoretical account of the effect of management tenure on the strategic behavior of the chief justice of the United States. Substantial evidence from literatures on learning models and public management indicate that tenure (length of service) is positively related to management performance in public organizations. This suggests that the chief justices tenure in office should be positively related to efficiency in the use of the chief justices formal powers. We assess this hypothesis by replicating and extending Johnson et al.s study of chief justice Burgers conference voting behavior. The data support our management tenure hypothesis, showing that Burger used greater discretion in reserving his conference vote over time as he became more adept at discriminating between circumstances when the tactic was strategically valuable and when it was not.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Ura, J. D., & Flink, C. M.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Ura, Joseph Daniel||Flink, Carla M

publication date

  • January 2016