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Chicago-Kent was honored to welcome United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer to the law school on September 12 to speak at the inaugural program of our new Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States. In his thought-provoking, 90-minute presentation to students, faculty, alumni and friends, Justice Breyer addressed the themes set forth in his book Making Our Democracy Work--A Judge's View, and he answered questions posed by the audience. A video of the talk as well as links to Justice Breyer's interviews with Chicago media can be found here. Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2011 at C-K Faculty Blog
There has been some commentary on the web about whether Elena Kagan should or will join the cert pool if she is confirmed. As background: The justices in the cert pool divide the 8000 (or so) cert petitions filed with the Court each year among their chambers. Within each chambers, one law clerk is assigned to each of that chambers's petitions, and the law clerk writes a memo to the entire pool. Justice Stevens, whom Kagan has been nominated to replace, has never been a member of the cert pool, and for many years he was the only one who... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2010 at C-K Faculty Blog
It appears likely that President Obama will soon announce his pick to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the U.S. Supreme Court. As I argued shortly before Justice Stevens announced his retirement, claims about "neutral umpires" notwithstanding, judging on the Supreme Court inevitably (sometimes) involves political judgments. At the same time, however, I do not believe that ideology or political judgments explain everything that the Supreme Court does, although there is a powerful strain of scholarship in political science that effectively makes this claim. This view, championed in particular by Harold Spaeth and his co-author Jeffrey Segal, is known as... Continue reading
Posted May 7, 2010 at C-K Faculty Blog
I argued in a prior post that it would be refreshing and valuable for a Supreme Court nominee to speak frankly about the role that ideology, or political judgments, must inevitably play in some judicial decision making, especially on the Supreme Court. In a recent review essay, The Law Clerk Proxy Wars: Secrecy, Accountability, and Ideology in the Supreme Court, appearing in the Florida State University Law Review, I argue that public anxiety over whether the justices are allowing ideology to inappropriately affect their judgments is reflected in frequently-expressed concerns about whether law clerks have undue influence on their justices.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2010 at C-K Faculty Blog
With Justice Stevens signaling that he is likely to step down at the end of this current Supreme Court Term, speculation about who President Obama might appoint to replace him is legion. Rather than join in that speculation, however, I want to raise the question of the role of ideology in judging, particularly on the Supreme Court, and the disingenuous way that ideology is discussed – or rather, disavowed – during confirmation hearings. Chief Justice Roberts’ invocations of “neutral umpires” notwithstanding, judging is not a science. There is often no “right” answer to a question – especially to the types... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2010 at C-K Faculty Blog
Thanks for your suggestions, Daniel. I also wonder about tagging as a way to create a more flexible multi-user database. As for whether the coding issues are secrets -- they are not in the sense that most of the coding issues I identify are described in the Database's Codebook. My concern, however, is that many, many researchers fail to understand the coding limitations and their implications for the results of their own and others' work. I've seen -- and document in the Article -- numerous examples.
You are certainly right that selection effects must be thoroughly considered -- although both Plaintiphobia articles do so. As to whether appellate court are wrong in their legal conclusions, I would not call it a presumption, but in the context of summary judgment in employment discrimination cases in federal court, I would say (and have said in a non-quantitative piece: that the appellate courts are, at best, inconsistent. As always, of course, further research may be warranted.