Press releases disseminate selected information and promote particular issues. Although several courts regularly publish press releases on decisions, it is unclear which policy issues are more likely to be promoted by courts. This study argues that courts publish press releases to increase transparency and to promote politically contested issues strategically. Using original data on the German Federal Constitutional Court, it assesses the role of press releases for judicial agenda-setting. Through supervised text classification, policy issues in 7114 court decisions between 1998 and 2019 were coded. The results show that the pool of policy issues covered by press releases is more diverse compared to the Court’s decisions and that they are more likely to be published for decisions that deal with politically contested policy issues. This study contributes to the policy agenda literature by adding a new case, the German Federal Constitutional Court, and court press releases as a new perspective.
Manuscript submitted after revise and resubmit in Journal of Public Policy.