While many studies have examined party capability theory, few have empirically examined the potential causal mechanisms underlying the theory. We do this by combining quantitative analyses with qualitative data drawn from interviews with over 60 US courts of appeals judges. We find that the “haves,” or repeat players, hire better lawyers and that these lawyers independently contribute to the success of the repeat players. We also find that the advantages of the haves extend to all parties, though to a lesser extent than the advantages enjoyed by the US government. These results remain robust after controlling for ideology.

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2016

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2016, University of Chicago Press. This article first appeared in Journal of Law and Courts: 4:1 (2016), 65-102.

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