U.S. Supreme Court less likely to hear cases from poor people, study shows
A new study conducted by a Michigan State University undergraduate is shining light on a hitherto underexamined aspect of American government — how the U.S. Supreme Court decides which cases it will hear.
The study found that “paupers” — those who are poor — are 30 percent less likely to have their cases accepted for review by the country’s highest court, reports MLive.com.
“The court’s agenda-setting process is how it picks the cases that ultimately will be used to set legal policy on topics as wide ranging as the death penalty to free speech to the rights of the criminally accused,” [faculty adviser and assistant professor of political science Ryan] Black said. “So we should care about the process by which the court, to borrow from the title of a book, ‘decides to decide’ cases.”
The research was conducted by MSU political science/pre-law senior Sydney Hawthorne using funds from her 2010 College of Social Science’s Dean Apprenticeship. Hawthorne’s research and work was named the grand prize winner of the Spring Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum’s social science/humanities division.