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http://ssrn.com/abstract=899148
 
 

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The Use of Foreign Decisions by Federal Courts: An Empirical Analysis


David T. Zaring


University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department

2006

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, July 2006
Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2006-04

Abstract:     
This article adds an empirical perspective to the debate over the use of foreign authority by federal courts. It surveys sixty years of federal court practice in citing opinions from foreign high courts, through a citation count analysis. The data reveals that federal courts rarely cite to foreign decisions, they do so no more now than they did in the past, and on those few occasions where they do cite to foreign decisions, it's usually not to help them interpret domestic law. Instead the citation of foreign decisions is best understood as a relatively rare phenomenon of judicial dialogue in cases where international issues are squarely presented by the facts. The article examines those few cases where federal courts have cited foreign decisions in some detail, and briefly considers some implications of the limited use of foreign decisions by federal courts.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

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Date posted: April 27, 2006 ; Last revised: July 4, 2013

Suggested Citation

Zaring, David T., The Use of Foreign Decisions by Federal Courts: An Empirical Analysis (2006). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, July 2006; Washington & Lee Legal Studies Paper No. 2006-04. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=899148

Contact Information

David T. Zaring (Contact Author)
University of Pennsylvania - Legal Studies Department ( email )
3730 Walnut Street
Suite 600
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

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