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2019

Allison Orr Larsen

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Factual Precedents, Allison Orr Larsen Sep 2019

Factual Precedents, Allison Orr Larsen

Allison Orr Larsen

Lawyers and judges speak to each other in a language of precedents—decisions from cases that have come before. The most persuasive precedent to cite, of course, is an on-point decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. But Supreme Court opinions are changing. They contain more factual claims about the world than ever before, and those claims are now rich with empirical data. This Supreme Court factfinding is also highly accessible; fast digital research leads directly to factual language in old cases that is perfect for arguments in new ones. An unacknowledged consequence of all this is the rise of what I …