The Gatekeepers: Federal District Courts in the Political Process

By Kevin L. Lyles | Go to book overview

Appendix A: The National District Court Judge Survey (NDJS)

BRIEF METHODS AND PROCEDURES

NDJS data utilized in this study were collected using a mail survey questionnaire sent to all federal district court judges (including senior judges) listed in the Judicial Staff Directory. 1 Two waves of survey questionnaires were mailed; the first in April 1992, and the second in July 1993 (N=809). For the first wave, two attempts were made to contact each judge. The initial attempt included mailing the four-page survey with cover letter to each judge listed in the 1992 Judicial Staff Directory. Second, a postcard reminder was mailed to each judge (not yet responding) ten days after the initial mailing. The identical procedures were followed for the second wave, using the 1993 Judicial Staff Directory for the judges who had not yet responded and to include new appointments to the bench.


THE SURVEY POPULATION AND THE RESPONDENTS: SELECTED INDEPENDENT VARIABLES

Of the 809 surveys mailed, 491 (60.6 percent) responded. Overall the characteristics of those judges who responded closely mirror the survey population. Consider the following characteristics:


Position/Status

As indicated in Table A. 1, associate judges accounted for approximately 63 percent of the survey population of judges and made up about 60 percent of the respondents. Senior judges made up 25 percent (206) of the survey population and 27 percent (135) of the respondents. Finally, chief judges made up 11 per cent (90) of the survey population and 12 percent (60) of the respondents. In

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