The Business of State Supreme Courts, Revisited
19 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2006
Date Written: December 20, 2006
In this research note we employ data from the State Supreme Court Data Project to update Kagan et al.'s study of the docket composition of state supreme courts. Our analysis shows that many of the patterns of change described by Kagan et al. continued through the 20th century: debt and real property continued to decline and criminal continued to increase. However, other patterns of change either reversed or halted. Specifically, neither torts nor family cases have continued to increase; torts have stabilized and family cases, rather than increasing, have declined. The most surprising shift is the sharp increase in other contract, which had no particular pattern in the earlier data, but which represented five percent or less of the courts' business; in the 1990s, other contracts had grown to a level approaching that of public law, and exceeding real property and family and estate cases.
Keywords: state supreme court, litigation
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