Case Vectors: Spatial Representations of the Law Using Document Embeddings
Law as Data, Santa Fe Institute Press, ed. M. Livermore and D. Rockmore, 2019(11)
25 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2018 Last revised: 20 Apr 2020
Date Written: June 28, 2018
Recent work in natural language processing represents language objects (words and documents) as dense vectors that encode the relations between those objects. This paper explores the application of these methods to legal language, with the goal of understanding judicial reasoning and the relations between judges. In an application to federal appellate courts, we show that these vectors encode information that distinguishes courts, time, and legal topics. The vectors do not reveal spatial distinctions in terms of political party or law school attended, but they do highlight generational differences across judges. We conclude the paper by outlining a range of promising future applications of these methods.
Keywords: text data, judge rankings
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