Judicial Specialization and Deference in Asylum Cases on the US Courts of Appeals


Location: Hesburgh Center C103 (View on map.nd.edu)

Judicial Specialization and DeferenceJudicial Specialization and Deference

Many look to the federal courts as an avenue of control of the growing administrative state. Some advocate the creation of specialized federal courts of appeals in policy areas such as immigration and social security. Yet little is known about whether repeat exposure to specific types of cases enables federal judges to overcome doctrines of deference, and whether such an effect would be policy neutral.  In this talk, Stobb will discuss her research with colleagues using a sample of over 4000 cases decided by the US Courts of Appeals between 2002 and 2017 to see whether exposure to asylum cases over time emboldens federal judges to challenge administrative asylum decisions and assert their personal policy preferences. Their findings not only address important questions raised by bureaucracy and court scholars, but inform a salient public debate concerning the proper treatment of those seeking refuge within our borders.

Maureen Stobb is associate professor of political science at Georgia Southern University, where she teaches and researches in the areas of immigration law and policy, constitutional law, international law, and judicial decision-making. Previously she practiced law for seven years, primarily as an immigration and asylum attorney, and was an intern at the fifth session of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court and at Amnesty International’s London office.

Submit questions here.

Sponsored by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies