Determinants of Cohesion in the Supreme Court's Network of Precedents
Frank B. Cross
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Information, Risk and Operations Management; University of Texas at Austin - School of Law; University of Texas at Austin
Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego School of Law
Politecnico di Milano
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 07-67
U of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. 90
2nd Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper
This study examines determinants of cohesion in the Supreme Court's reliance on precedent in the network of U.S. Supreme Court precedents. We use a database of all Supreme Court Citations and test several measures of annualized Court action as independent variables in a regression on several measures of network cohesion. We find that the magnitude of ideological decisionmaking is consistently associated with a reduction in network cohesion, suggesting that there is indeed a conflict between legal application of precedent and ideological decisions. This effect was roughly the same, though, regardless of whether the Court was conservative or liberal. We also find significant independent effects for Chief Justice eras, with the Burger Court associated with greater cohesion and the Rehnquist Court associated with lessened cohesion.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: precedent, network analysis
JEL Classification: K00working papers series
Date posted: August 14, 2006
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