Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-888d5979f-4m4jm Total loading time: 0.179 Render date: 2021-10-28T00:07:21.078Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

The Genealogy of Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 January 2017

Tom S. Clark*
Affiliation:
Department of Political Science, Emory University, 327 Tarbutton Hall, 1555 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322
Benjamin E. Lauderdale
Affiliation:
Methodology Institute, London School of Economics, Columbia House, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE, UK. e-mail: b.e.lauderdale@lse.ac.uk
*
e-mail: tom.clark@emory.edu (corresponding author)
Rights & Permissions[Opens in a new window]

Abstract

HTML view is not available for this content. However, as you have access to this content, a full PDF is available via the ‘Save PDF’ action button.

Many theories of judicial politics have at their core the concepts of legal significance, doctrinal development and evolution, and the dynamics of precedent. Despite rigorous theoretical conceptualization, these concepts remain empirically elusive. We propose the use of a genealogical model (or “family tree”) to describe the Court's construction of precedent over time. We describe statistical assumptions that allow us to estimate this kind of structure using an original data set of citation counts between Supreme Court majority opinions. The genealogical model of doctrinal development provides a parsimonious description of the dependencies between opinions, while generating measures of legal significance and other related quantities. We employ these measures to evaluate the robustness of a recent finding concerning the relationship between ideological homogeneity within majority coalitions and the legal impact of Court decisions.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author 2012. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Political Methodology 

Footnotes

Authors' note: We thank Brandon Bartels, Barry Friedman, John Kastellec, Drew Linzer, and Jeff Staton for helpful comments and suggestions. We also thank Josh Strayhorn for helpful research assistance. This research was supported by the National Science Foundation (SES-0961058).

References

Bailey, Michael A., and Maltzman, Forrest. 2011. The constrained court: Law, politics, and the decisions justices make. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bartels, Brandon L. 2009. The constraining capacity of legal doctrine on the U.S. Supreme Court. American Political Science Review 103(3): 474–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Benesh, Sara C. 2002. The U.S. Court of Appeals and the law of confessions: Perspectives on the hierarchy of justice. New York: LFB Scholarly Publishing.Google Scholar
Biskupic, Joan, and Witt, Elder. 1997. Congressional Quarterly's guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly Press.Google Scholar
Blei, David M., Ng, Andrew Y., and Jordan, Michael I. 2003. Latent dirichlet allocation. Journal of Machine Learning Research 2003(3): 9931022.Google Scholar
Bommarito, Michael J., Katz, Daniel Martin, Zelner, Jon, and Fowler, James H. 2010. Distance measures for dynamic citation models. Physica 389(19): 4201–8.Google Scholar
Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan, and Matthew Stephenson. 2002. Informative precedent and intrajudicial communication. American Political Science Review 96(4): 112.Google Scholar
Carrubba, Clifford J., and Clark, Tom S. Forthcoming. Rule Creation in a Political Hierarchy. American Political Science Review.Google Scholar
Clark, Tom S., and Lauderdale, Benjamin. 2010. Locating Supreme Court opinions in doctrine space. American Journal of Political Science 54(4): 871–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clark, Tom S., and Lauderdale, Benjamin. 2012. Replication data for: The Genealogy of Law. http://hdl.handle.net/1902.1/18176.Google Scholar
Clark, Tom S., and Carrubba, Clifford J. 2012. A Theory of Opinion Writing in the Judicial Hierarchy. Journal of Politics 74(2): 584603.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Epstein, Lee, and Segal, Jeffrey A. 2000. Measuring issue salience. American Journal of Political Science 44(1): 6683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fowler, James H., and Jeon, Sangick. 2008. The authority of Supreme Court precedent: A network analysis. Social Networks 30(1): 1630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fowler, James H., Johnston, Timothy R., Spriggs, James F. II, Jeon, Sangick, and Wahlbeck, Paul J. 2007. Network analysis and the law: Measuring the legal importance of precedents at the U.S. Supreme Court. Political Analysis 15(3): 324–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Friedman, Barry. 2006. Taking law seriously. Perspectives on Politics 4(2): 261–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gennaioli, Nicola, and Shleifer, Andrei. 2007. The evolution of common law. Journal of Political Economy 115(1): 4368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
George, Tracey E., and Epstein, Lee. 1992. On the nature of Supreme Court decision making. American Political Science Review 86: 323–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hall, Kermit L. 1999. The Oxford guide to United States Supreme Court decisions. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Hansford, Thomas G., and Spriggs, James F. II. 2006. The politics of precedent on the U.S. Supreme Court. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Ignagni, Joseph A. 1994. Explaining and predicting Supreme Court decision making: The Burger Court's establishment clause decisions. Journal of Church and State 36(2): 301–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kastellec, Jonathan P. 2010. The statistical analysis of judicial decisions and legal rules with classification trees. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 7(2): 202–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kornhauser, Lewis A. 1992a. Modeling collegial courts II: Legal doctrine. Journal of Law, Economics & Organization 8: 441–70.Google Scholar
Kornhauser, Lewis A. 1992b. Modeling collegial courts I: Path dependence. International Review of Law and Economics 12: 169–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kort, Fred. 1957. Predicting Supreme Court decisions mathematically: A quantitative analysis of the “right to counsel” cases. American Political Science Review 51(1): 112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kritzer, Herbert M., and Richards, Mark J. 2002. Deciding the Supreme Court's administrative law cases: Does chevron matter? Paper prepared for the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association.Google Scholar
Lax, Jeffrey R., and Rader, Kelly T. 2009. Legal constraints on Supreme Court decision making: Do jurisprudential regimes exist? Journal of Politics 72(2): 273–84.Google Scholar
Lax, Jeffrey R. 2007. Constructing legal rules on appellate courts. American Political Science Review 101(3): 591604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lax, Jeffrey R. 2011. The new judicial politics of legal doctrine. Annual Review of Political Science 14: 131157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Levi, Edward. 1949. An introduction to legal reasoning. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Maltzman, Forrest, Spriggs, James F. II, and Wahlbeck, Paul J. 2000. Crafting law on the Supreme Court: The collegial game. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Maltz, Earl M. 2000. The function of Supreme Court opinions. Houston Law Review 37: 1395–420.Google Scholar
Martin, Andrew D., and Quinn, Kevin M. 2002. Dynamic ideal point estimation via Markov Chain Monte Carlo for the U.S. Supreme Court, 1953-1999. Political Analysis 10(2): 134–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McGuire, Kevin T., and Vanberg, Georg. 2005. Mapping the policies of the U.S. Supreme Court: Data, opinions, and constitutional law. September 1-5.Google Scholar
McGuire, Kevin T. 1990. Obscenity, libertarian values, and decision making in the Supreme Court. American Politics Quarterly 18(1): 4767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Patterson, Edwin W. 1951. The case method in American legal education: Its origins and objectives. Journal of Legal Education 4(1): 124.Google Scholar
Porter, Mason A., Onnela, Jukka-Pekka, and Mucha, Peter J. 2009. Communities in networks. Notices of the American Mathematical Society 56(9): 1082–97.Google Scholar
Quinn, Kevin M., Monroe, Burt L., Colaresi, Michael, Crespin, Michael H., and Radev, Dragomir R. 2010. How to analyze political attention with minimal assumptions and costs. American Journal of Political Science 54(1): 209–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Richards, Mark J., and Kritzer, Herbert M. 2002. Jurisprudential regimes in Supreme Court decision making. American Political Science Review 96(2): 305–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Segal, Jeffrey A. 1984. Predicting Supreme Court cases probabilistically: The search and seizure cases, 1962-1981. American Political Science Review 78(4): 891900.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Songer, Donald R., and Haire, Susan B. 1992. Integrating alternative approaches to the study of judicial voting: Obscentity cases in the U.S. Courts of Appeals. American Journal of Political Science 36: 963–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Spaeth, Harold J., Epstein, Lee, Ruger, Theodore W., Whittington, Keith E., Segal, Jeffrey A., and Martin, Andrew D. 2010. The Supreme Court database. http://supremecourtdatabase.org.Google Scholar
Spriggs, James F. II, and Hansford, Thomas. 2000. Measuring legal change: The reliability and validity of Shepard's citations. Political Research Quarterly 53(2): 327–41.Google Scholar
Staudt, Nancy, Friedman, Barry, and Epstein, Lee. 2007. On the role of ideological homogeneity in generating consequential constitutional decisions. North Carolina Law Review 86(5): 1299–332.Google Scholar
Sulam, Ian. 2011. Policy, precedent, indeterminacy: Using doctrine space to bridge across circuits. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, IL.Google Scholar
You have Access
19
Cited by

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

The Genealogy of Law
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

The Genealogy of Law
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

The Genealogy of Law
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *