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October 24, 2005

Fascinating new paper for SCOTUS fans

Thanks to this post by Orin Kerr over at Volokh, I found this fascinating forthcoming paper by Ward Farnsworth about the voting patterns of Supreme Court Justices entitled "Signatures of Ideology: The Case of the Supreme Court's Criminal Docket."  The first two sentences of the paper's conclusion provides a nice summary of the paper's scope:

At one level this article is an inquiry into criminal cases and how the Supreme Court decides them.  But it also might be considered an inquiry into how courts decide cases of any kind; the mechanics by which judges' values and preferences get translated into votes and opinions might be similar everywhere.

I have not yet read the full text of this interesting piece, but the paper's charts plotting how often individual Justices have voted for the government in criminal cases makes this piece instantly worth the price of downloading.  It also interestingly shows why criminal defendants may hope that Chief Justice Roberts is more in the mold of Justices Scalia and Thomas than in the mold of the late Chief Justice Rehnquist.

October 24, 2005 at 12:08 PM | Permalink


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