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Submerged Precedent, Elizabeth Mccuskey Apr 2016

Submerged Precedent, Elizabeth Mccuskey

Faculty Scholarship

Numerous studies have pointed to the skewed picture of trial courts' workload, management, and disposition of cases that exists from examining Westlaw and Lexis opinions alone, akin to navigating the iceberg from its tip.4 But submerged precedent pushes docketology in an uncharted direction by identifying a mass of reasoned opinions-putative precedent and not mere evidence of decision-making-that exist only on dockets. Submerged precedent thus raises the specter that docket-based research may be necessary in some areas to ascertain an accurate picture of the law itself not just trial courts' administration of it.

The existence of a submerged body …