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Category Archives: Courts

Paper – Peer Effects on the United States Supreme Court

Holden, Richard and Keane, Michael and Lilley, Matthew, Peer Effects on the United States Supreme Court (February 3, 2017).  Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2916394

“Using data on essentially every US Supreme Court decision since 1946, we estimate a model of peer effects on the Court. We consider both the impact of justice ideology and justice votes on the votes of their peers. To identify these peer effects we use two instruments. The first is based on the composition of the Court, determined by which justices sit on which cases due to recusals or health reasons for not sitting. The second utilizes the fact that many justices previously sat on Federal Circuit Courts and are empirically much more likely to affirm decisions from their “home” court. We find large peer effects. Replacing a single justice with one who votes in a conservative direction 10 percentage points more frequently increases the probability that each other justice votes conservative by 1.63 percentage points. In terms of votes, a 10 percentage point increase in the probability that a single justice votes conservative leads to a 1.1 percentage increase in the probability that each other justice votes conservative. Finally, a single justice becoming 10% more likely to vote conservative increases the share of cases with a conservative outcome by 3.6 percentage points – excluding the direct effect of that justice – and reduces the share with a liberal outcome by 3.2 percentage points. In general, the indirect effect of a justice’s vote on the outcome through the votes of their peers is typically several times larger than the direct mechanical effect of the justice’s own vote.”

The Essential Neil Gorsuch Reader: What Judge Gorsuch Cases Should You Read?

Via FAS – The Essential Neil Gorsuch Reader: What Judge Gorsuch Cases Should You Read?, CRS Legal Sidebar, February 13, 2017. “Judge Gorsuch has a voluminous judicial record, having served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit for more than a decade. According to Judge Gorsuch’s recent submissions to the Senate Judiciary… Continue Reading

Yale, Harvard Law School Deans rise up against attacks on judiciary

Law.com: “The deans of Yale Law School and Harvard Law School have joined the growing chorus of lawyers publicly condemning President Donald Trump’s attacks on the judiciary. In a blistering op-ed in The Boston Globe on Friday, Harvard’s Martha Minow and Yale’s Robert Post wrote that Trump’s Twitter-delivered insults against the federal judges who stayed… Continue Reading

AP – Judge grants injunction against Trump travel ban in Virginia

Follow up to previous related postings – news via AP –  “[On February 14, 2017] A federal judge Monday granted a preliminary injunction barring the Trump administration from implementing its travel ban in Virginia, adding another judicial ruling to those already in place challenging the ban’s constitutionality. The ruling is significant from a legal standpoint… Continue Reading

Publishers Still Fighting to Bury Universities, Libraries in Fees for Making Fair Use of Academic Excerpts

EFF – “On behalf of three national library associations, EFF today urged a federal appeals court for the second time to protect librarians’ and students’ rights to make fair use of excerpts from academic books and research. Nearly a decade ago, three of the largest academic publishers in the world— backed by the Association of… Continue Reading

Microsoft Corporation v. DOJ on sneak-and-peek searches

Via Bloomberg – “Microsoft Corp. persuaded a judge not to let the U.S. government out of a lawsuit alleging the company’s free-speech rights are violated by a law that blocks it from alerting users to the clandestine interception of their e-mails. The judge said Microsoft has at least made a plausible argument that federal law… Continue Reading

During World War II U.S. Saw Italian-Americans as a Threat to Homeland Security

David A. Taylor – smithsonian.com – February 2, 2017: “The executive order that forced Japanese-Americans from their homes also put immigrants from Italy under the watchful eye of the government…The incarceration of Japanese-Americans is the best-known effect of Executive Order 9066, the rule signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942. And for good… Continue Reading

9th Circuit refuses to reinstate travel ban

Follow up to previous postings and related primary, secondary sources and commentary on travel ban issues by Executive Order – Responses to immigrant ban include legal stay and legislation – see the following updates: New York Times – Court Refuses to Reinstate Travel Ban, Dealing Trump Another Legal Loss: “The decision is the most stinging… Continue Reading

CRS – Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee

CRS Report via FAS – Supreme Court Appointment Process: President’s Selection of a Nominee, Barry J. McMillion, Analyst on the Federal Judiciary. February 6, 2017. “The appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is an event of major significance in American politics. Each appointment is of consequence because of the enormous judicial power the Supreme Court… Continue Reading

Tech Companies File Legal Brief Against Trump’s Immigration Order

Bloomberg – “More than 120 companies, from Apple to Zynga, filed an impassioned legal brief condemning President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, stepping up the industry’s growing opposition to the policy. The amicus brief was filed late Sunday in the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco and emphasizes the importance of immigrants in… Continue Reading

WaPo – Federal appeals court decides to schedule a hearing on Trump travel order

Follow up to previous posting and related sources – Responses to immigrant ban include legal stay and legislation – via The Washington Post – “A federal appeals court will hear arguments Tuesday on whether to restore President Trump’s controversial immigration order, marking a critical juncture for the president’s directive temporarily barring refugees and those from… Continue Reading

Reporters Committee releases report on Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch

February 2, 2017 – “U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch does not have an extensive history of cases involving free speech, free press, and freedom of information issues, but the opinions he authored or joined during his more than 10 years on the Tenth Circuit that do touch upon those issues reflect the application of… Continue Reading