Are supreme court justices loyal to the president who appoints them?

justice loyalty

Yes. Lee Epstein and I report statistical results in our new paper. A justice is more likely to vote for the government when the president who appointed him is in office, than when subsequent presidents are in office–even when those subsequent presidents are of the same party (and controlling for a bunch of other things).

The figure above suggests an interesting U-shaped time trend as well. The x-axis shows the initials of justices in chronological order. The y-axis shows a measure of preference for the government under the appointing president over subsequent governments. Note that the figure excludes Obama and Bush appointees because they have not yet served under a same-party president subsequent to the one who appointed them.