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Full-Text Articles in Law

Clear As Mud: How The Uncertain Precedential Status Of Unpublished Opinions Muddles Qualified Immunity Determinations, David Cleveland Jan 2010

Clear As Mud: How The Uncertain Precedential Status Of Unpublished Opinions Muddles Qualified Immunity Determinations, David Cleveland

David R. Cleveland

While unpublished opinions are now freely citeable under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 32.1, their precedential value remains uncertain. This ambiguity muddles the already unclear law surrounding qualified immunity and denies courts valuable precedents for making fair and consistent judgments on these critical civil rights issues. When faced with a claim that they have violated a person’s civil rights, government officials typically claim qualified immunity. The test is whether they have violated “clearly established law.” Unfortunately, the federal circuits differ on whether unpublished opinions may be used in determining clearly established law. This article, Clear as Mud: How ...


Hearings, Mark Spottswood Jan 2010

Hearings, Mark Spottswood

Faculty Working Papers

This article explores a constantly recurring procedural question: When is fact-finding improved by a live hearing, and when would it be better to rely on a written record? Unfortunately, when judges, lawyers, and rulemakers consider this issue, they are led astray by the widely shared—but false—assumption that a judge can best determine issues of credibility by viewing the demeanor of witnesses while they are testifying. In fact, a large body of scientific evidence indicates that judges are more likely to be deceived by lying or mistaken witnesses when observing their testimony in person than if the judges were ...


Federal Circuit Patent Precedent: An Empirical Study Of Institutional Authority And Ip Ideology, David Pekarek-Krohn, Emerson H. Tiller Jan 2010

Federal Circuit Patent Precedent: An Empirical Study Of Institutional Authority And Ip Ideology, David Pekarek-Krohn, Emerson H. Tiller

Faculty Working Papers

In this paper, we aim to better understand the institutional authority of the Federal Circuit as a source of law as well as the influence of pro-patent and anti-patent ideological forces at play between the Supreme Court, Federal Circuit, and the district courts. Our specific focus is on the district courts and how they cite Federal Circuit precedent relative to Supreme Court precedent to support their decisions, whether they be pro-patent or anti-patent. Using a variety of citation approaches and statistical tests, we find that federal district courts treat the Federal Circuit as more authoritative (compared to the Supreme Court ...


The Macroeconomic Court: Rhetoric And Implications Of New Deal Decision-Making, Nancy Staudt, Yilei He Jan 2010

The Macroeconomic Court: Rhetoric And Implications Of New Deal Decision-Making, Nancy Staudt, Yilei He

Faculty Working Papers

Supreme Court scholars have long discussed and debated the dramatic shift in constitutional decision-making that took place in the late 1930s—a shift that led the Justices to presume the constitutionality of any and all commercial statutes no matter how "preposterous" they might seem. The conventional wisdom holds that the Supreme Court altered its decision-making calculus to avoid the consequences of President Roosevelt's "court-packing plan," but various other explanations have also emerged in the literature over time. In this Article, Professor Staudt and Ms. He investigate an explanation that scholars and commentators have largely ignored: the role of the ...


Methodological Advances And Empirical Legal Scholarship: A Note On The Cox And Miles' Voting Rights Act Study, Nancy Staudt, Tyler Vanderweele Jan 2010

Methodological Advances And Empirical Legal Scholarship: A Note On The Cox And Miles' Voting Rights Act Study, Nancy Staudt, Tyler Vanderweele

Faculty Working Papers

In this Response, we use Professors Cox and Miles' recent study of judicial decision-making to explore what is at stake when legal scholars present empirical findings without fully investigating the structural relationships of their data or without explicitly stating the assumptions being made to draw causal inferences. We then introduce a new methodology that is intuitive, easy to use, and, most importantly, allows scholars systematically to assess problems of bias and confounding. This methodology—known as causal directed acyclic graphs—will help empirical researchers to identify true cause and effect relationships when they exist and, at the same time, posit ...


Economic Trends And Judicial Outcomes: A Macrotheory Of The Court, Thomas Brennan, Lee Epstein, Nancy Staudt Jan 2010

Economic Trends And Judicial Outcomes: A Macrotheory Of The Court, Thomas Brennan, Lee Epstein, Nancy Staudt

Faculty Working Papers

In this symposium essay, we investigate the effect of economic conditions on the voting behavior of U.S. Supreme Court Justices. We theorize that Justices are akin to voters in political elections; specifically, we posit that the Justices will view short-term and relatively minor economic downturns—recessions—as attributable to the failures of elected officials, but will consider long-term and extreme economic contractions—depressions—as the result of exogenous shocks largely beyond the control of the government. Accordingly, we predict two patterns of behavior in economic-related cases that come before the Court: (1) in typical times, when the economy cycles ...


Let My People Go: Ethnic In-Group Bias In Judicial Decisions – Evidence From A Randomized Natural Experiment, Oren Gazal-Ayal, Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan Jan 2010

Let My People Go: Ethnic In-Group Bias In Judicial Decisions – Evidence From A Randomized Natural Experiment, Oren Gazal-Ayal, Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan

Oren Gazal-Ayal

Does ethnic identity affect judicial decisions? We provide new evidence on ethnic biases in judicial behavior, by examining the decisions of Arab and Jewish judges in first bail hearings of Arab and Jewish suspects in Israeli courts. Our setting avoids the potential bias from unobservable case characteristics by exploiting the random assignment of judges to cases during weekends, and by focusing on the difference in ethnic disparity between Arab and Jewish judges. The study concentrates on the early-stage decisions in the judicial criminal process, controlling for the state's position, and excluding agreements, thereby allowing us to distinguish judicial bias ...


Demographic Diversity Of State Courts, 2009, Sylvia R. Lazos Jan 2010

Demographic Diversity Of State Courts, 2009, Sylvia R. Lazos

Boyd Briefs / Road Scholars

No abstract provided.


Evaluating Judges And Judicial Institutions: Reorienting The Perspective, Mitu Gulati, David E. Klein, David F. Levi Jan 2010

Evaluating Judges And Judicial Institutions: Reorienting The Perspective, Mitu Gulati, David E. Klein, David F. Levi

Faculty Scholarship

Empirical scholarship on judges, judging, and judicial institutions, a staple in political science, is becoming increasingly popular in law schools. We propose that this scholarship can be improved and enhanced by greater collaboration between empirical scholars, legal theorists, and the primary subjects of the research, the judges. We recently hosted a workshop that attempted to move away from the conventional mode of involving judges and theorists in empirical research, where they serve as commentators on empirical studies that they often see as reductionist and mis-focused. Instead, we had the judges and theorists set the discussion agenda for the empiricists by ...


The Costs Of Judging Judges By The Numbers, Marin K. Levy, Kate Stith, Jose A. Cabranes Jan 2010

The Costs Of Judging Judges By The Numbers, Marin K. Levy, Kate Stith, Jose A. Cabranes

Faculty Scholarship

This essay discredits current empirical models that are designed to “judge” or rank appellate judges, and then assesses the harms of propagating such models. First, the essay builds on the discussion of empirical models by arguing that (1) the judicial virtues that the legal empiricists set out to measure have little bearing on what actually makes for a good judge; and (2) even if they did, the empiricists’ chosen variables have not measured those virtues accurately. The essay then concludes that by generating unreliable claims about the relative quality of judges, these studies mislead both decision-makers and the public, degrade ...


Reform In California's Immigration Enforcement And Immigration Court, Nelson E. Gil Jan 2010

Reform In California's Immigration Enforcement And Immigration Court, Nelson E. Gil

CMC Senior Theses

According to the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Immigration Statistic, California accounts for approximately 2,600,000 illegal immigrants in 2009. This number represents about 25 percent of the entire estimated illegal immigrant population in the United States, which is roughly 10.8 million. Between 2003 and 2008, the U.S. government removed 1,446,338 noncitizens from the United States. This rise in deportation is a result o the changes that have been enacted by the federal government over the years that transformed the nature of immigration enforcement. This thesis explores the California Immigration Enforcement system from the ...


All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies And The Rule Of Law, Keith J. Bybee Jan 2010

All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies And The Rule Of Law, Keith J. Bybee

College of Law - Faculty Scholarship

This paper contains the introduction to the new book, All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law (Stanford University Press, 2010).

The book begins with the observation that Americans are divided in their beliefs about whether courts operate on the basis of unbiased legal principle or of political interest. This division in public opinion in turn breeds suspicion that judges do not actually mean what they say, that judicial professions of impartiality are just fig leaves used to hide the pursuit of partisan purposes.

Comparing law to the practice of common courtesy ...