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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

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 ...


The European Court’S Political Power Across Time And Space, Karen Alter Jan 2009

The European Court’S Political Power Across Time And Space, Karen Alter

Faculty Working Papers

This article extracts from Alter's larger body of work insights on how the political and social context shapes the ECJ's political power and influence. Part I considers how the political context facilitated the constitutionalization of the European legal system. Part II considers how the political context helps determine where and when the current ECJ influences European politics. Part III draws lessons from the ECJ's experience, speculating on how the European context in specific allowed the ECJ to become such an exceptional international court. Part IV lays out a research agenda to investigate the larger question of how ...


The Death Of The American Trial, Robert P. Burns Jan 2009

The Death Of The American Trial, Robert P. Burns

Faculty Working Papers

This short essay is a summary of my assessment of the meaning of the "vanishing trial" phenomenon. It addresses the obvious question: "So what?" It first briefly reviews the evidence of the trial's decline. It then sets out the steps necessary to understand the political and social signficance of our vastly reducing the trial's importance among our modes of social ordering. The essay serves as the Introduction to a book, The Death of the American Trial, soon to be published by the University of Chicago Press.