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Daily Archives: July 22, 2014

The Evolution of Consensus in the U.S. Supreme Court

Rice, Douglas and Zorn, Christopher J., The Evolution of Consensus in the U.S. Supreme Court (July 22, 2014). Available for download at SSRN:

For small, collegial bodies such as the U.S. Supreme Court, interpersonal dynamics play a key role in the decision making process. Previous work on the Court has focused on the existence of “consensual norms,” examined only the presence of concurring and dissenting opinions, and rested entirely on aggregate statistics. As a result, that work is limited in its ability to uncover inter-justice conflict during the 19th and early 20th centuries and fails to explain whether changes in the Court’s collegiality are due to shifts in issues, personnel, or the larger political environment. A sentiment analysis of all opinions — majority, concurring, and dissenting — issued by the Court between 1792 and 2000 allows us to measure the degree of consensual and discordant content for every opinion, justice, and term of the Court. Leveraging data at the opinion level also allows us to exploit an identification strategy for uncovering “chief justice effects.” Our findings suggest a permanent increase in overall levels of valenced language in dissenting opinions corresponding roughly to the ascension of Chief Justice Taft, and a similar increase among majority opinions under Chief Justice Burger. However, though we uncover substantial justice-level differences in the positivity or negativity of opinion content, we find little evidence of systematic variations in the polarity of language associated with the regimes of particular chief justices.”

Wealth in America: Policies to Support Mobility

Wealth in America – Urban Institute – Signe-Mary McKernan, Caleb Quakenbush, Caroline Ratcliffe, C. Eugene Steuerle. July 22, 2014 “What role can policymakers play in helping families rebuild their balance sheets after the Great Recession and in helping young families, families of color, and those with less education who were falling behind even prior to it? This brief, based on a… Continue Reading

FSB publishes a report on Reforming Major Interest Rate Benchmarks

News release: “The major interest reference rates (such as LIBOR, EURIBOR, and TIBOR) are widely used in the global financial system as benchmarks for a large volume and broad range of financial products and contracts. The cases of attempted market manipulation and false reporting of global reference rates, together with the post-crisis decline in liquidity… Continue Reading

“Black Boxes” in Passenger Vehicles: Policy Issues

CRS – “Black Boxes” in Passenger Vehicles: Policy Issues – Bill Canis, Specialist in Industrial Organization and Business; David Randall Peterman, Analyst in Transportation Policy July 21, 2014. “An event data recorder (EDR) is an electronic sensor installed in a motor vehicle that records  certain technical information about a vehicle’s operational performance for a few seconds immediately prior to… Continue Reading

The Kurds and Possible Iraqi Kurdish Independence

CRS – The Kurds and Possible Iraqi Kurdish Independence. Jim Zanotti, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs; Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs. July 15, 2014 (IN10105) “Approximately 30 million ethnic Kurds inhabit a largely mountainous region at the intersection of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. In recent years, Kurdish populations have increasingly influenced regional developments, particularly given ongoing conflict… Continue Reading

U.S. Sanctions on Russia in Response to Events in Ukraine

CRS Report, July 18, 2014 (IN10048): “Many view Russia’s annexation of the Crimean region of Ukraine on March 18, 2014, and efforts to destabilize eastern and southern Ukraine as the culmination of long-standing Russian resentment of the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. Russian leaders have claimed they have the right to protect Russian citizens and “compatriots” (those… Continue Reading

New GAO Reports – Large Partnerships, Managing for Results, SBA, Telecommunications

LARGE PARTNERSHIPS: Growing Population and Complexity Hinder Effective IRS Audits, GAO-14-746T: Published: Jul 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2014. MANAGING FOR RESULTS: Enhanced Goal Leader Accountability and Collaboration Could Further Improve Agency Performance, GAO-14-639: Published: Jul 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2014. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION: Office of Advocacy Needs to Improve Controls over Research, Regulatory, and Workforce Planning Activities, GAO-14-525: Published:… Continue Reading

Earth – an animated map of global wind and weather

a visualization of global weather conditions forecast by supercomputers updated every three hours ocean surface current estimates updated every five days ocean surface temperatures and anomaly from daily average (1981-2011) updated daily Author | Cameron [email protected] Free Version of Source | Continue Reading

The Impact of Judicial Vacancies on Federal Trial Courts

Alicia Bannon – Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law: “In an earlier report, the Brennan Center analyzed national court data on vacancies and caseload in order to document the burden that judicial vacancies create. In this study we dig deeper, analyzing the experiences of 10 districts that currently have judicial vacancies… Continue Reading

Democratic House Staff Report on Fourth Anniversary of Dodd-Frank Act

Follow up to Report: Dodd-Frank Act Does Not End Too Big to Fail But Perpetuates It as Official Policy – today, the Democrat’s interpretation of the same subject – The Fourth Anniversary of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Protection Act of 2010, Democratic Staff Report Prepared for Democratic Members of the House Committee on Financial Services – The Honorable… Continue Reading