Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

The Structures of Interest Coalitions: Evidence from Environmental Litigation

  • Andrew B. Whitford (a1)

This paper addresses the intersection of coalition formation, judicial strategies, and regulatory politics. Coalitions are a low-cost means for assembling minority interests into more powerful blocs. However, in most cases in regulatory politics, judicial strategies are high cost efforts. I argue that coalitions among interests form one basis for judicial participation, but that participation manifests in an array of coalition “microstructures.” For any one event, the microstructure of the interest group coalition varies, but across events the coalitions take on general forms. The paper offers evidence for a variety of coalition microstructures in interest group participation as amici curiae (“friends of the court”) in cases before the United States Supreme Court. The evidence is drawn from the case of the Group of Ten, a stable, long-term coalition of environmental interest groups that operated from 1981 to 1991.

Corresponding author
1Department of Political Science, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 66044–3177. E-mail:
Hide All

Author's note: I thank the following for their suggestions about this paper: Lee Epstein, Bill Lowry, Norman Schofield, and Ken Kollman. All errors that remain are my own.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Lucius J. Barker 1967. “Third Parties in Litigation: A Systematic View of the Judicial Function.” Journal of Politics 29 (1): 4169.

William P. Browne 1990. “Organized Interests and Their Issue Niches: A Search for Pluralism in a Policy Domain.” The Journal of Politics 52 (2): 477509.

James Buchanan . 1965. “The Theory of Clubs.” Economica 32 (125): 114.

Greg Caldeira and John Wright . 1988. “Organized Interests and Agenda Setting in the U.S. Supreme Court.” American Political Science Review 82 (4): 1109–27.

Greg Caldeira and John Wright . 1990. “ Amici Curiae Before the Supreme Court: Who Participates, When, and How Much?The Journal of Politics 52 (3): 782806.

Daniel P. Carpenter , Kevin M. Esterling , and David M.J. Lazer 1998. “The Strength of Weak Ties in Lobbying Networks: Evidence from Health-Care Politics in the United States.” Journal of Theoretical Politics 10 (4): 417–44.

Charles Chatfield . 1969. “Pacifists and Their Publics: The Politics of a Peace Movement.” Midwest Journal of Political Science. 13 (2): 298312.

Alain Degenne and Michel Forse . 1999. Introducing Social Networks. London: Sage Publications.

Lee Epstein , Jeffrey A. Segal , and Timothy Johnson . 1996. “The Claim of Issue Creation on the U.S. Supreme Court.” American Political Science Review 90 (4): 845–52.

Chris Fraley . 1998. “Algorithms for Model-Based Gaussian Hierarchical Clustering.” SIAM Journal on Scientific Computing 20 (1): 270–81.

Chris Fraley and Adrian E. Raftery 1999. “MCLUST: Software for Model-Based Cluster Analysis.” Journal of Classification 16 (2): 297306.

Samuel Hays . 1987. Beauty, Health and Permanence: Environmental Politics in the United States, 1955–1985. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Marie Hojnacki . 1997. “Interest Groups’ Decisions to Join Alliances or Work Alone.” American Journal of Political Science 41 (1): 6187.

Nicholas Lovrich and John Pierce . 1986. “The Good Guys and Bad Guys in Natural Resource Politics: Context and Structure of Perceptions of Interests Among General and Attentive Publics.” Social Science Journal 23 (3): 307–26.

Karen O'Connor and Lee Epstein . 1983. “The Rise of Conservative Interest Group Litigation.” The Journal of Politics. 45 (2): 479–89.

Susan M. Olson 1990. “Interest-Group Litigation in Federal District Court: Beyond the Political Disadvantage Theory.” The Journal of Politics 52 (3): 854–82.

Mark V. Pauly 1967. “Clubs, Commonality and the Core: An integration of Game Theory and the Theory of Public Goods.” Economica 34 (135): 314–24.

Robert H. Salisbury , John P. Heinz , Edward O. Laumann , and Robert L. Nelson 1987. “Who Works with Whom? Interest Group Alliances and Opposition.” American Political Science Review. 81 (4): 1217–34.

V. Kerry Smith . 1985. “A Theoretical Analysis of the ‘Green Lobby’.” American Political Science Review. 79 (1): 132–47.

James F. Spriggs 1996. “The Supreme Court and Federal Administrative Agencies: A Resource-Based Theory and Analysis of Judicial Impact.” American Journal of Political Science 40 (4): 1122–51.

Paul J. Wahlbeck 1997. “The Life of the Law: Judicial Politics and Legal Change.” The Journal of Politics. 59 (3): 778802.

Jack L. Walker 1983. “The Origin and Maintenance of Interest Groups in America.” American Political Science Review. 77 (2): 390406.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Business and Politics
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 1469-3569
  • URL: /core/journals/business-and-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 1 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 29 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 20th January 2017 - 24th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.