Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Indiana State University 200 N. 7th Street, Terre Haute, Indiana, USA. <[email protected]>
Abstract: The last major treatment of environmentalism in the federal district courts was Wenner’s (1982) investigation of the environmental activity in all levels of federal courts during the 1970s. This paper is an updated treatment of the environmental cases within the federal court system, limited to activity within the federal district courts in the two decades between 1970 and 1990. A model of the ability of environmental groups to succeed in the federal district court has been developed and ‘success in court’ as the dependent variable has been used and defined as a win for an environmental group in litigating a question involving some aspect of environmental law. A series of measures for various hypothesized influences on ‘success’ using institutional and cultural variables has been formulated. Both models using logistic regression have been tested. Evidence has been found that the environmental groups engage in strategic behaviour, either by litigating within certain regions or persuading powerful allies to engage in litigation with them, raising the chances of their success.