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Researching United States Supreme Court Justices. Law 590-201 Senior Seminar (Supreme Court Decisions) July 5, 2005 James E. Duggan. Why is it important?. Knowing a justice’s background may give you insight into how the justice thinks…

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researching united states supreme court justices

Researching United States Supreme Court Justices

Law 590-201 Senior Seminar (Supreme Court Decisions)

July 5, 2005

James E. Duggan

why is it important
Why is it important?
  • Knowing a justice’s background may give you insight into how the justice thinks…
  • If you know what arguments a justice responds to, you can prepare briefs and oral arguments in an influential way.
  • Unlike juries, you cannot usually pick a court bench. But, you should think how the court views all aspects of your case as you would a jury.
potential predictors of judicial decisions
Potential Predictors of Judicial Decisions
  • How have justices ruled in the past? What alliances have justices formed?
  • How have justices responded to arguments?
  • What questions have justices asked in oral arguments?
  • How have justices responded to briefs?
  • What have justices said in speeches? Other writings? Interviews?
potential predictors of judicial decisions4
Potential Predictors of Judicial Decisions
  • Biographical Information
  • Nomination/Confirmation Battles
  • What has been written about the justice
  • Political Science Studies/Supreme Court Forecasting Project
  • Personal Connections/Anecdotal Information
getting started researching the supreme court
Getting Started: Researching the Supreme Court
  • Martin & Goehlert, How to Research the Supreme Court (CQ, 1992)
  • Stern, Gressman, Shapiro & Geller: Supreme Court Practice, 8th ed. (CQ, 2002)
  • Epstein, Segal, Spaeth & Walker, The Supreme Court Compendium: Data, Decisions & Development, 2nd ed. (CQ: 1996)
getting started researching the supreme court6
Getting Started: Researching the Supreme Court
  • Paddock, Facts about the Supreme Court of the United States (H.W. Wilson & Co., 1996)
  • Bader & Mersky, The First One Hundred Eight Justices (W.S. Hein & Co., 2004)
getting started researching the supreme court7
Getting Started: Researching the Supreme Court
  • Lambert, U.S. Supreme Court Research-Select Internet Sites (on LLRX)
  • Official U.S. Supreme Court Website
how have justices ruled in the past
How Have Justices Ruled in the Past?
  • Search for their opinions on LexisNexis & Westlaw
    • LexisNexis: Use Segment Search: Opinionby, Writtenby, Dissentby, Concurby
    • Westlaw: Use Field Search: JU (judge), CON (Concurring), DIS (dissenting)
    • Remember to search for opinions prior to service on Supreme Court; may also want to search for cases they argued as attorneys
what alliances have justices formed
What Alliances Have Justices Formed?
  • LexisNexis and Westlaw Search: Look at who joins the justice in the opinion (concurrence, dissent, etc.)
  • Look at commentary about Court in newspapers, legal journals, etc.
  • See postings on SCOTUSblog (linked from SIU Law Library webpage)
justices oral arguments responses
Justices: Oral Arguments & Responses
  • Look at texts of oral arguments:
    • http://www.supremecourtus.gov/
    • Official transcript proceedings before the Supreme Court of the United States [SIU microform]
    • May it please the court [sound recording] : the most significant oral arguments made before the Supreme Court since 1955
  • OYEZ-U.S. Supreme Court Multimedia
briefs
Briefs
  • LexisNexis & Westlaw
  • http://www.supremecourtus.gov/
  • http://www.abanet.org/publiced/preview/home.html
  • Landmark briefs and arguments of the Supreme Court of the United States (SIU)
  • U. S. Supreme Court records and briefs [microform]
speeches writings interviews
Speeches, Writings, Interviews
  • Check Index to Legal Periodicals
  • Checks News files on both LexisNexis & Westlaw
  • See Partin’s Supreme Court Research Guide & Bibliography
  • Book Example: Sandra Day O’Connor, The Majesty of the Law (Random House, 2003)
  • Historically, locate papers collections (generally at major universities)
biographical information
Biographical Information
  • Friedman and Israel, The Justices of the United States Supreme Court: Their Lives and Major Opinions (Vol. V, Chelsea House, 1995)
  • The American Bench: Judges of the Nation
  • Almanac of the Federal Judiciary
  • Be careful, though…
biography examples
Biography Examples
  • Andrew Peyton Thomas, Clarence Thomas: a Biography (Encounter Books, 2001)
  • Nancy Maveety, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: Strategist on the Supreme Court (Rowan & Littlefield, 1996)
nomination confirmation battles
Nomination/Confirmation Battles
  • Lots of information surfaces at a confirmation hearing:
    • Newspaper/Media files (LexisNexis/Westlaw)
    • Mersky & Jacobstein, The Supreme Court of the United States : hearings and reports on successful and unsuccessful nominations of Supreme Court Justices by the Senate Judiciary Committee, 1916-1993(W.S. Hein & Co, 1993-1995).
about the justice books articles etc
About the Justice: Books, Articles, etc.
  • Use various indexes/databases to search for materials:
    • OCLC First Search
    • Library Catalogs
    • Periodical Indexes (ILP, LegalTrac, etc.)
    • Silverburg, Index to Law School Theses & Dissertations (W.S. Hein & Co., 1995)
    • Comprehensive Dissertation Index (Law & Political Science; Social Sciences and Humanities)
about the justice books articles etc examples
About the Justice: Books, Articles, etc. Examples
  • Epstein & Knight, The Choices Justice Make (CQ Press, 1998)
  • Johnson, Oral Arguments and Decision Making on the United States Supreme Court (SUNY Press, 2004)
  • Cooper & Ball, The United States Supreme Court: From the Inside Out (Prentice Hall, 1996)
about the justice books articles etc examples26
About the Justice: Books, Articles, etc. Examples
  • Perry, “The Supremes”: Essays on the Current Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States (Peter Lang, 1999)
  • Clayton & Gillman, Supreme Court Decision Making: New Institutionalist Approaches (University of Chicago Press, 1999)
about the justice books articles etc examples27
About the Justice: Books, Articles, etc. Examples
  • Segal & Spaeth, The Supreme Court and the Attitudinal Model Revisited (Cambridge University Press, 2002)
  • Savage, Turning Right: The Making of the Rehnquist Supreme Court (John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1992).
political science studies forecasting models
Political Science Studies/Forecasting Models
  • See Morris Library’s Social Science Indexes for political science journal articles, etc.
personal connections anecdotal information
Personal Connections/Anecdotal Information
  • Who do you know?
    • Clerks/other Employees
    • Attorneys who have argued before the Supreme Court
  • Who can you hire?
    • Georgetown’s Supreme Court Institute