Anna O. Law, Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and University of Texas – Austin
Abstract: This presentation examines the effect of overarching institutional norms on judicial behavior in the United States Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Courts of Appeal in immigration cases. Law argues that distinct operational norms govern the different levels of the judiciary, causing the two courts to adopt divergent approaches to immigration cases. While the high court is mainly concerned with resolving grand questions of jurisprudence, the Circuit Courts of Appeals are more parochial in focus and attends to questions of procedural due process. Law attributes the difference in approaches taken by the two courts to their specific and dissimilar institutional contexts and concludes that these enduring structures better explain judicial behavior than such factors as the characteristics of individual judges, which is the focus of standard modes of analysis.