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The Trouble With Amicus Facts, Allison Orr Larsen Nov 2014

The Trouble With Amicus Facts, Allison Orr Larsen

Faculty Publications

The number of amicus curiae briefs filed at the Supreme Court is at an all-time high. Most observers, and even some of the Justices, believe that the best of these briefs are filed to supplement the Court’s understanding of facts. Supreme Court decisions quite often turn on generalized facts about the way the world works (Do violent video games harm children? Is a partial birth abortion ever medically necessary?). To answer these questions, the Justices are hungry for more information than the parties and the record can provide. The consensus is that amicus briefs helpfully add factual expertise to ...


Allison Orr Larsen On Intensely Empirical Amicus Briefs And Amicus Opportunism At The Supreme Court, Allison Orr Larsen Jul 2014

Allison Orr Larsen On Intensely Empirical Amicus Briefs And Amicus Opportunism At The Supreme Court, Allison Orr Larsen

Popular Media

No abstract provided.


Following Lower-Court Precedent, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl Jul 2014

Following Lower-Court Precedent, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

Faculty Publications

This Article examines the role of lower-court precedent in the US Supreme Court’s decisions. The Supreme Court is rarely the first court to consider a legal question, and therefore the Court has the opportunity to be informed by and perhaps even persuaded by the views of the various lower courts that have previously addressed the issue. This Article considers whether the Court should give weight to lower-court precedent as a matter of normative theory and whether the Court in fact does so as a matter of practice. To answer the normative question, this Article analyzes a variety of potential ...


Against Methodological Stare Decisis, Evan J. Criddle, Glen Staszewski Jun 2014

Against Methodological Stare Decisis, Evan J. Criddle, Glen Staszewski

Faculty Publications

Should federal courts give stare decisis effect to statutory interpretation methodology? Although a growing number of legal scholars have answered this question in the affirmative, this Essay makes the case against methodological stare decisis. Drawing on recent empirical studies of Congress’s expectations regarding statutory interpretation, we show that existing knowledge of Congress’s expectations is insufficient to settle on one consistent approach to statutory interpretation. Moreover, Congress has almost certainly changed its expectations over time, and this raises serious problems for methodological stare decisis from the perspective of faithful-agency theories. We argue further that many theories and doctrines of ...


Measuring Circuit Splits: A Cautionary Note, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl Jan 2014

Measuring Circuit Splits: A Cautionary Note, Aaron-Andrew P. Bruhl

Faculty Publications

A number of researchers have recently published new measures of the Supreme Court’s behavior in resolving conflicts in the lower courts. These new measures represent an improvement over prior, cruder approaches, but it turns out that measuring the Court’s resolutions of conflicts is surprisingly difficult. The aim of this methodological comment is to describe those difficulties and to establish several conclusions that follow from them. First, the new measures of the Court’s behavior are certainly imprecise and may reflect biased samples. Second, using the Supreme Court Database, which some studies rely on to assemble a dataset of ...