Appellate Review

Journal of Law, Vol. 2, (Journal of Legal Metrics, Vol. 1), No. 1, 2012

18 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2012

See all articles by Tom Cummins

Tom Cummins


Adam Aft

George Mason University - School of Law, Alumni

Date Written: February 7, 2012


With this brief essay, we offer an improved metric of appellate review – one which measures circuit court performance by compiling data on the Court’s resolution of circuit splits. A “circuit split,”as articulated by Supreme Court Rule 10, exists when “a federal court of appeals has decided a case in conflict with the decision of another federal court of appeals.” Thus, rather than simply calculating how frequently the Court affirms the judgment below (what we term the “primary review” affirmance rate), we examine how frequently the Court approves of a court of appeals’ judgment onthe particular issue that has caused the split. We term our metricthe “parallel review” affirmance rate, as the Court is evaluating not only the particular decision on which the writ of certiorari was issued, but also the parallel, conflicting decisions on the issue that are evaluated by the Court in resolving the circuit split.

Keywords: Supreme Court, United States Courts of Appeal, Legal Metrics, Circuit Split

Suggested Citation

Cummins, Tom and Aft, Adam, Appellate Review (February 7, 2012). Journal of Law, Vol. 2, (Journal of Legal Metrics, Vol. 1), No. 1, 2012 , Available at SSRN:

Tom Cummins

Independent ( email )

Adam Aft (Contact Author)

George Mason University - School of Law, Alumni ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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