Computational Legal Studies, Digital Humanities, and Textual Analysis
Nina Varsava, Computational Legal Studies, Digital Humanities, and Textual Analysis, in COMPUTATIONAL LEGAL STUDIES: THE PROMISE AND CHALLENGE OF DATA-DRIVEN LEGAL RESEARCH (Ryan Whalen ed., 2020) (Forthcoming).
28 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2019 Last revised: 22 Jul 2020
Date Written: December 27, 2018
Digital humanities tools, designed to dissect and measure formal and topical elements of digitized texts, are well-suited to legal textual data. Legal studies can benefit from these tools, and also from the humanist sensibilities that inform them. Humanists are highly attuned to the importance of formal and stylistic elements of texts, and to the relationships between form and other variables of interest. This chapter begins with a discussion of computational textual analysis in the humanities, focusing on stylometry, and elaborates the promise of these methods for legal studies. Part two presents a quantitative analysis of now-Justice Kavanaugh’s opinion writing. And part three delineates some of the limitations of computational textual analysis. Overall, the chapter represents an effort to connect the fields of digital humanities and computational legal studies, and in particular to highlight and exemplify the digital humanities methods and sensibilities that legal scholars might wish to borrow and adapt.
Keywords: Computational Legal Studies, Digital Humanities, Stylometrics, Judicial Opinions, Judges, Courts, Corpus Linguistics, Kavanaugh, Law and Rhetoric
JEL Classification: K00, K10, K15, K40, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation