When I first started using the ALLCOURT database I was disappointed in the quality of the documentation (which was then available only as a plain-text file). For one thing, there was that ugly Courier font, and the distracting tendency to hyphenate words in the middle of the line. As I soon discovered, the page references in the Table of Contents were sometimes wrong. Much more problematic was the frequent statement that “SPSS lists the values for this variable”. I was using the ASCII form of the database, and it took me a long time to realize that this meant “see the SPSS version of the database for this information”. For anyone who does not have access to SPSS — and the database is distributed in several formats — this is worthless.
I decided to see if I could do better, and this is the result. What you have here is three versions of the documentation:
The documentation was converted to LaTeX from the original text file and from there was edited using Scientific WorkPlace. The LaTeX source code is available on request, but note that it contains many SWP-inserted TeX fields to accommodate the Tabbing environment, which limits its usefulness in other systems. In retrospect, it might have been better to put the many tables into LaTeX’s Longtable environment rather than using Tabbing; but this is not going to change now. A few Perl scripts inserted most of the cross-references: it would have been possible to do this in SWP, of course, but I wanted to limit the amount of editing I had to do. Conversion to PDF was done using pdfLaTeX, and the HTML conversion was with Eitan Gurari’s TeX4ht system.
The documentation is based on Spaeth’s original documentation, dated December 10, 2004 (but see below for information on updates). I have introduced a few improvements, designed to make the manual more usable:
However, I did not proof-read the Reliability Check section: if anyone finds errors, I’d be glad to hear of them so they can be corrected.
Update, April 2009 I have updated the categories in variables 8, 14, 15, 24 and 29 based on Spaeth’s documentation dated September 9, 2008. I found only two additions (the Department of Homeland Security in variable 8, and RFRA in variable 24). I found this a bit surprising, but as Carolyn Shapiro points out in her discussion in the Hastings Law Review (Vol. 60, 2009) “The issue codes … also have a somewhat dated feel, … [reading] as a catalog of issues that were particularly salient during the Warren and Burger Courts and, perhaps, during the first ten years of the Rehnquist Court.” In addition, I found a few lines in my formatting that had been run together, and hence did not appear visually to be separate categories. Finally, the two Roberts natural court descriptions (variable 23) now match Spaeth’s.
Appeal for assistance I make these versions of the documentation available to the research community in the hope that they may be useful. If they are, there arises the question of updating. (I wrote to Spaeth about this, but received no answer). It took me about three days of hard work to re-format the original. This was when the original was a text file; I think it would be significantly more difficult to extract the text from the PDF version, which is what is now being released. One way or another, then, it’s impractical to re-do this every time the documentation is re-issued. But if researchers will undertake to inform me of the details of changes they notice, I’m more than willing to make those changes in my text and release updated versions. So if the community wants these versions of the documentation to be kept current, it will have to help; my email address appears below. If you write, please put “Spaeth” somewhere in the subject line.
Philip A. Viton
Note that for variables describing the actions of the individual justices, where the variable names depend on the abbreviated name of the Justice, only Justice Harlan (HAR) is listed. For example, whether Justice Stewart wrote an opinion in a given case (variable STEWO) would be referred to here under the listing HARO for Justice Harlan.
|ADMIN||variable 8||MOA||variable 259|
|ALTPREC||variable 38||MOW||variable 260|
|ANALU||variable 5||MULT_MEM||variable 34|
|AUTHDEC||variable 26||MWC||variable 261|
|AUTHDEC_1||variable 27||NATCT||variable 23|
|AUTHDEC_2||variable 28||ORAL||variable 18|
|CERT||variable 13||ORIGIN||variable 10|
|CHIEF||variable 22||PARTY_1||variable 14|
|DEC||variable 20||PARTY_2||variable 15|
|DEC_TYPE||variable 33||REC||variable 6|
|DIR||variable 31||REORAL||variable 19|
|DIRD||variable 32||SCT||variable 2|
|DIS||variable 35||TERM||variable 21|
|DISQ||variable 36||UNCON||variable 39|
|DISS||variable 12||US||variable 1|
|DOCKET||variable 4||VALUE||variable 30|
|HAR||variable 42||VOTE||variable 40|
|HARA1||variable 135||VOTEQ||variable 41|
|HARA2||variable 166||WIN||variable 37|
This database is continuously updated with cases being added as the decisions are handed down, read, coded, and entered into the database. Because the database is now freely available at http://www.as.uky.edu/polisci/ulmerproject/sctdata.htm you are urged to pay attention to the date your version appeared on the website and check whether it is the current one. As decisions are handed down, read, coded, and entered into the database during the course of the term, the data are updated as many as 15 to 20 times.
The variables in this database, which begins with the first term of the Warren Court, continues through the Burger Court, and terminates with the current term of the Rehnquist Court, concern six distinct aspects of the Court’s decisions: 1) identification variables — e.g., citations and docket numbers; 2) background variables — e.g., how the Court took jurisdiction, origin and source of case, the reason the Court granted cert; 3) chronological variables — e.g., date of decision, term of Court, natural court; 4) substantive variables — e.g., legal provisions, issues, direction of decision; 5) outcome variables — e.g., disposition of case, winning party, formal alteration of precedent, declaration of unconstitutionality; 6) voting and opinion variables — e.g., how the individual justices voted, their opinions and interagreements, the direction of their votes. These variables appear in the database in the same order that they appear in the documentation. The variable view option in SPSS numbers each variable identically with the table of contents of this documentation.
You may consider this documentation unduly lengthy. Much of it results from the need to specify the decision rules governing the entry of data into the various variables. If you wish to accept my specifications, you need not bother with what I have written about the variables you employ in your research. If convention applies, I adhere to it. But for many variables and their specific entries, none exists.
I perhaps should apologize for continuing to compile the data using an SPSS template. Notwithstanding that it rests on a DOS platform, SPSS does admit of easy data entry. And inasmuch as accuracy is the name of the game, I hesitate to switch to a less familiar program. For those who find Stata preferable, it is, of course, able to accept and read SPSS data files.
Unlike previous updates, the vast majority of the variables have been converted to numeric, many of which are dummies. Users may determine the type of each variable by accessing the data type column in SPSS’ variable view option.
In addition to the conversion of variables to numeric, variable labels are provided along with a listing of the values that the variable possesses. The former may be accessed by simply using the variable view option and accessing the label and/or values column. Most users will find this information sufficient for their purposes. Abbreviations used for string variables are specified in the section of this documentation pertaining to that variable.
Note also, that the names of the variables and the values each contains may be sequentially printed out by resorting to the utilities drop down menu at the top of the SPSS screen and selecting <file info.’
It is absolutely crucial that users fully inform themselves about variables 5 (ANALU) and 33 (DEC_TYPE) before undertaking any analyses. Failure to do so will produce woefully inappropriate and grossly misleading results.
Although students partially coded a few of the non-interpretative variables — e.g., docket number (DOCKET), manner in which the Court determines to take jurisdiction (JUR), origin and source of case (ORIGIN and SOURCE), and the various dates relating to the Court’s decision (ORAL, REORAL, DEC), the responsibility for what is contained in each of the variables that comprises the database rests solely with me.
I wish to thank Professor Jeffrey Segal of the State University of New York at Stony Brook for his extremely valuable comments and suggestions on all phases and aspects of the database since its creation, and especially for his assistance in the creation of the SPSS commands used to create a number of the variables. I also thank Harriet Dhanak, the former programming and software specialist in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University, for her expert guidance and assistance. Her successor, Lawrence Kestenbaum, continued and extended the stellar services on which I had become dependent. Professor Tim Hagle of the University of Iowa continues to inform me of errors and missing data that I have overlooked. My former graduate students, now bona fide professors — Sara C. Benesh and Wendy L. Martinek — have shepherded me through the more arcane byways of current versions of SPSS and other related statistical packages.
I also thank Professor Kirk Randazzo and the Department of Political Science at the University of Kentucky for their willingness to distribute this and other judicial databases.
Compilation of this database was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, SES–8313773 and SES–8812935. Without its assistance, the database would not exist.
NOTE: Throughout the database missing data result because a justice was not a member of the Court at the time the case was decided, chose not to participate in the case, or because the variable in question does not admit to specification under the values provided for that variable. In which cases, a blank space, a ‘0,’ a ‘9,’ or a ‘.’ will appear. The variable’s type and the value for each of the value labels for each variable will indicate which of these it is.
The three variables in these fields provide the citation to each case from the official United States Reports (US) and the two major unofficial Reports, the Lawyers’ Edition of the United States Reports (LED) and the Supreme Court Reporter (SCT). The volume number precedes the slash bar; the page number on which the case begins follows. When these citations appear in printed form, any zeros that precede any other cardinal number are dropped. Thus, the database LED citation, 086/0011, should be read as 86 L Ed 2d 11. Note that all LED citations are to the second series except for volumes 98, 99, and 100 which are cited without "2d." These three volumes cover the first three terms of the Warren Court (1953–1955). Note that the database does not distinguish between citations to volumes 98, 99, and 100 of the first series and volumes 98, 99, and 100 of the second series. The latter cover a portion of the 1987 term. This overlap should cause no trouble unless you use as a ‘select if’ command reference to these volumes of the LED.
All US and LED citations were copied directly from the published volumes. SCT citations were derived from the conversion table to the United States Reports which is located in the front of the various volumes of the Supreme Court Reporter.
Citations to the Lawyers’ Edition are current. Those to the other two Reporters are not. Because of the ready availability of case citations to the United States Reports and the Supreme Court Reporter I stopped entering these data a number of terms ago.
Not every record is cited to each source. I do not find either Olin Mathieson Chemical Corp. v. N.L.R.B., 352 U.S. 1020 (1957), or United States v. Louisiana, 409 U.S. 17 (1972), in the Lawyers’ Edition. On the other hand, the United States Reports do not contain those cases in which a justice dissents from the granting of an attorney’s request for admission to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. E.g., In the Matter of Admission of Leda M.C. Hartwell, William Evans Benton, and Michael T. Rose, 71 L Ed 2d 641, 859, and 862 (1982), respectively. Relative to the Court’s formally decided cases, this sort of memorandum decision is trivial. Because citations to the Supreme Court Reporter are derived from a conversion table, as mentioned above, cases not cited in the United States Reports will have no parallel SCT citation, as will cases that the conversion table otherwise omits.
Pagination does not invariably proceed chronologically throughout the volumes. Hence, do not assume that because a given citation has a higher page number than that of another case it was decided on the same or a later date as the other case. The only accurate way to sequence the cases chronologically is by indexing or otherwise sequencing each case’s date of decision (DEC), variable 20.
This variable contains the docket number that the Supreme Court has assigned to the case. During the Warren Court and the first two terms of the Burger Court, different cases coming to the Court in different terms could have the same docket number. The Court eliminated the possibility of such duplication by including the last two digits of the appropriate term before the assigned docket number. Since the 1971 Term, the Court has also operated with a single docket. Cases filed pursuant to the Court’s appellate jurisdiction have a two-digit number corresponding to the term in which they were filed, followed by a hyphen and a number varying from one to four digits. Cases invoking the Court’s original jurisdiction have a number followed by the abbreviation, “Orig”.
For administrative purposes, the Court uses the letters, “A”, “D”, and “S”, in place of the term year to identify applications (“A”) for stays or bail, proceedings of disbarment or discipline of attorneys (“D”), and matters being held indefinitely for one reason or another (“S”).
Several dozen records in the database do not contain a docket number; e.g., Arkansas v. Texas, 346 U.S. 368 (1953), and Alabama v. Texas, 347 U.S. 272 (1954), and cases in which a justice dissents from the grant of a lawyer’s application for admission to the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. In these cases, this variable has no entry.
Explanation of the use of this variable requires definition of what a “record” and a “case” are. A record is the computerized listing of the variables contained in a case. Each record is distinctive; that is to say, no two records in the database are identical in all respects. The entry in at least one variable will differ from that contained in another record. A “case”, on the other hand, refers to a citation or a docket number. A case may theoretically have an unlimited number of records.
The ANALU variable provides options among units of analysis:
|2||=||multiple issue case|
|3||=||cases containing multiple legal provisions|
|4||=||split vote case|
|5||=||case with multiple issues and multiple legal provisions|
Most research uses either case citation or docket number.
In using case citation as the unit of analysis only the information contained in the first record for that citation is provided. Choosing docket number in a multiple record case will specify possible differences in the court in which the case originated (variable 10), the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed (variable 11), the parties to the case (variables 14 and 15 (pp. ??, ??)), the “direction” of the Court’s decision (variable 31), direction based on dissent (variable 32), the disposition the Court made of the case (variable 35), or an unusual disposition (variable 36). If any of these matters are of interest, docket number is the appropriate unit of analysis. To define a case as each separate docket number requires selection of ANALU=0 and ANALU=1.
Users whose interest lies in certain legal provisions (variable 24) or issues (variable 29) should go more or less directly to these variables without concerning themselves with a unit of analysis as such. But again take care to choose the appropriate type of decision (variable 33).
The final option that the ANALU variable provides is the identification of cases that contain a split vote. This phrase refers to those cases with a common citation, docket number, legal provision, and issue in which one or more of the justices voted with the majority on one issue or aspect of the case and dissented on another. An extreme example is Wolman v. Walter, 433 U.S. 229 (1977), in which no single voting alignment can capture how each of the justices voted toward the series of parochiaid programs that were at issue in this case. Note that a “4” will appear in the ANALU variable only if the docket number, legal provision, and the issue are the same in the original record in the case (ANALU=0) as they are in the record(s) in which ANALU=4.
Note that in two split vote cases not only did a justice vote with the majority on one issue and dissent on another, but that these two cases — both decided during the 1990 term — also contain two separate opinions of the Court, each written by a different justice: Arizona v. Fulminante, 113 L Ed 2d 302, and Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 115 L Ed 2d 888. In both cases, the justice who wrote the opinion of the Court in the ANALU=4 record is Rehnquist. If you are interested in who writes the opinion of the Court, these two cases should be counted as containing two majority opinions.
Use of any of the ANALU options other than 0, will cause the unit of analysis to be docket number, not case citation. In other words, if you wish to analyze only cases with multiple legal provisions, what the database will provide you are such cases by docket number, not just case citation. Thus, for example, if a cited case contains two docket numbers and three legal provisions, each of the two docket numbers will appear three times in order to account for the distinctive legal provisions that each docket number addresses. Hence, if a docket number concerns more than one legal provision, it will appear once for each such legal provision. Thus, a docket number with four legal provisions will appear four times, each of which — in pertinent part — will differ from the other three only in the content of the legal provision (LAW) variable (variable 24) and, in addition, by the appearance of a “3” in the second through the fourth of these records. The citation and docket number will be identical in all four of these records, as the following hypothetical example shows:
Clearly then, to use the appearance of a 2, 3, 4, or 5 in the ANALU variable to count the number of case citations or docket numbers with multiple issues, multiple legal provisions, split votes, or a combination of multiple issue and legal provisions will produce a drastic overcount.
Also see the following variables: type of decision (33), multiple legal provisions (25), and number of records per unit of analysis (4).
The coding instructions for this variable follow:
Any combination of “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, or “5” may appear. Note that each entry in this variable (1-5) relates to the original entry for that docket number. Hence, if in the second record, the legal provision and the issue both differ from the first record, enter a “5”. If the third record has a different legal provision but the same issue as the second record, again enter a “5” because its legal provision and issue both differ from the first record. (See 379 U.S. 148 for an example.)
This variable specifies the number of records per unit of analysis for each citation whose docket number appears more than once. Thus, if a given docket number contains five legal provisions (indicated by a “3” in variable 5 [the unit of analysis] for the second, third, fourth, and fifth appearances of the case’s docket number), the number, “4”, will appear in this variable in the first record that contains a “3” in the unit of analysis (ANALU) variable.
This variable also contains the number of docket numbers that pertain to a given citation. Thus, if a citation has three docket numbers, a “2” will appear in the record of this variable that contains the first “1” in the unit of analysis variable. The “2” in the REC variable indicates that this citation has three docket numbers (the original record, plus two additional records containing the second and third docket numbers, respectively).
Note that in the first record of every citation (which is also the first record of that docket number) this variable has no entry. Also note that the entry in the REC variable is meaningful only in relation to the presence of a “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, or “5” in the unit of analysis variable. Thus, if a given record has a “3” in the ANALU variable and a “1” in the REC variable, the citation (the docket number) has two legal provisions from the codes specified for the legal provisions at issue considered by the Court variable (variable 24). Further note that cases containing multiple legal provisions and multiple docket numbers should have separate entries in the REC variable. For example, if a citation contains two docket numbers, each of which contains three legal provisions, the unit of analysis variable (ANALU) will be empty in the first record, as will the REC variable. The second record will have a “1” in ANALU and also a “1” in REC to indicate a cite with two docket numbers. The third and fourth records, which correspond to the second legal provision for the two separate docket numbers, will contain a “3” in ANALU and a “2” in REC to signify that this case has three legal provisions. The fifth and sixth records will again contain a “3” in ANALU, but no entry in REC because the number of legal provisions — minus one — that each docket number contains has already been specified.
This variable basically acts as a check on coding accuracy. Users are not likely to use the REC variable except to know if any citations contain multiple docket numbers, multiple legal provisions, multiple issues, or split votes.
A technical explanation of the REC variable follows: If a citation to a case has more than a single record either because it has more than a single docket number, is multi-issue, contains multiple legal provisions, was decided by a split vote, or has both multiple issues and legal provisions, this variable specifies the number of such additional records in the first record in which the unit of analysis variable (ANALU) indicates the reason for the multiple records. Thus, if a “2” appears in the REC variable of a case in which ANALU=1, it means that this particular case has three docket numbers: the original docket number, which as explained in the ANALU variable never contains an entry in the record in which it initially appears, and the two additional records that contain the second and third docket numbers, respectively. As a further example, consider a citation whose second record has a “1” in the REC variable. This record contains a “3” in its ANALU variable. This means that this case contains two legal provisions as defined and specified by the LAW variable. Inspection of the two records for this case will show that the entry for the LAW variable in the first of these two records differs from the entry for the LAW variable in the second of these two records.
Note that the entry in the REC variable is meaningful only in relation to the presence of the appropriate code from the ANALU variable. A “2” in the latter and a “1” in the former, for example, means that this case has two issues as defined and identified by the issue variable. Similarly, a “4” in the REC variable and a “1” in the ANALU variable means that this case has five docket numbers.
It bears repeating that the first record of every case citation will have no entry in the REC variable.
Also note that a case may show some combination of the ANALU codes in its various records, rather than a “1”, “2”, “3”, “4”, or “5” exclusively. For example, if a citation has two docket numbers, each of which concerns three distinct legal provisions, the ANALU and REC variables will both be empty in the first record. The second record will contain a “1” in the REC variable and also a “1” in the ANALU variable to signify that this case has two docket numbers. The next record — the third — will show a “3” in the REC variable and a “3” in ANALU to indicate that this docket number concerns four separate legal provisions. The fourth and fifth records, assuming that their docket number is the same as that which appears on the third record, will show a “3” in the ANALU variable while the REC variable has no entry. It has no entry because the number of legal provisions that this docket number addresses has already been specified. The sixth record, parallel to the third one, will show a “3” in the REC variable and a 3 in the ANALU variable to indicate that the second docket number in this case also contains four distinct legal provisions. The final two records, paralleling the fourth and fifth ones, will have a “3” in their ANALU variable while their REC variable has no entry. The visual representation of this hypothetical example would appear as follows:
Finally, note that if a “5” appears in the ANALU variable signifying a case that has multiple legal provisions and multiple issues, the number in the REC variable will correctly identify only the number of legal provisions, minus one, that the docket number addresses. It will not necessarily indicate accurately the number of issues to which the docket number applies. All that you may conclude about multiple issues is that the docket number pertains to more than one. Greater precision does not obtain because the “5” in the ANALU variable relates to the original record for this docket number. Thus, the number specified in the REC variable of the second record, say “2”, will indicate that the docket number applies to three distinct legal provisions, but that the second and third of these legal provisions may relate to a common issue which differs from that entered in the first record. Alternatively, the second and third records may not only contain legal provisions different from that entered in the first record, but they may also contain distinctive issues. Without visual inspection, you will not be able to determine whether this docket number has two or three issues. You will know, however, that this docket number does concern three legal provisions.
Most of the citations that show both a “3” and a “5” in their ANALU variable produce a situation akin to the following:
Here the ANALU=3 and the ANALU=5 records each treat separate legal provisions. To rectify the situation in cases containing records in which both a “3” and a “5” appear in the ANALU variable, focus instead on the multiple legal provisions (LAWS), variable 25). Each record pertaining to a docket number that concerns a legal provision distinct from any other that a different record lists will show a “1” in the LAWS variable. To determine the number of distinct legal provisions that the Court considered, simply sum the number of times a “1” appears in the LAWS variable for a particular docket number that has more than a single record.
Because the REC variable is a single column variable, three cases — from the later Warren Court and one from the Rehnquist Court — that contain more than nine records cannot be accommodated. All have a double digited number of dockets: 389 U.S. 486 (12), 390 U.S. 747 (14), 394 U.S. 310 (15), and 502 U.S. 16 (17). A “9” has been entered in the REC variable of the second record of each of these cases, with the remainder entered in the third record.
Also see unit of analysis (variable 5) and multiple legal provisions (variable 25).
This information is found in the United States Reports following the name of the case and before the docket number. SPSS lists the values for this variable.
|6||=||Rehearing or resstored to calendar for reargument|
|10||=||Application for admission|
|11||=||Reconsideration, remand, recall or withdrawal of order|
|14||=||Miscellaneous extraordinary writs|
|15||=||Miscellaneous motion or order|
Also see reason for granting certiorari (variable 13).
This variable pertains to administrative agency activity prior to the onset of litigation. Note that the activity may involve an administrative official as well as that of an agency. The general rule for an entry in this variable is whether administrative action occurred in the context of the case.
Determination of whether such action occurred in the context of the case was made by reading the material which appears in the summary of the case (the material preceding the Court’s opinion) and, if necessary, those portions of the prevailing opinion headed by a “I” or “II”.
An entry should appear in this variable if reference appears to action by a “board”, “commission”, “department”, or “agency”, or to “administrative” action; or if application of agency “rules”, “guidelines”, “regulations”, or remedies" occurs; or the use of agency “hearings” or “proceedings”; or the holding or issuing of a “permit”, “license”, or “certificate”.
Action by an agency official is considered to be administrative action except when such an official acts to enforce criminal law. However, action by a parole board or administrative action within a prison (e.g., transfer of prisoners without a hearing) is included as agency action. Investigations conducted by agency officials and noncriminal prosecutions are defined as agency action.
If an agency or agency official “denies” a “request” that action be taken, such denials are considered agency action.
The admissibility and dismissal of students from public educational institutions are considered administrative action.
The delegation of licensing authority to a private body (e.g., a board of bar examiners) is considered administrative action.
Excluded from entry in this variable are:
When a state agency or official acts as an agent of a federal agency, it is identified as federal agency action.
Where the record is unclear as to the presence of such action, a “?” will appear.
Administrative action may be either state or federal. If administrative action was taken by a state or a subdivision thereof, the two-letter ZIP Code abbreviation of the state in question will identify it. If administrative action results from an agency created under an interstate compact, the letters, “IC”, identify it.
If two federal agencies are mentioned (e.g., INS and BIA), the one whose action more directly bears on the dispute will appear; otherwise the agency that acted more recently. If a state and federal agency are mentioned, the federal agency will appear.
If agency action is federal, an abbreviation from the following list is used.
|AAFX||=||Army and Air Force Exchange Service|
|AEC||=||Atomic Energy Commission|
|AF||=||Secretary or administrative unit or personnel of the U.S. Air Force|
|AGRI||=||Department or Secretary of Agriculture|
|APC||=||Alien Property Custodian|
|ARMY||=||Secretary or administrative unit or personnel of the U.S. Army|
|BIA||=||Board of Immigration Appeals|
|BINA||=||Bureau of Indian Affairs|
|BOP||=||Bureau of Prisons|
|BPA||=||Bonneville Power Administration|
|BRB||=||Benefits Review Board|
|CAB||=||Civil Aeronautics Board|
|CENS||=||Bureau of the Census|
|CIA||=||Central Intelligence Agency|
|CFTC||=||Commodity Futures Trading Commission|
|COMM||=||Department or Secretary of Commerce|
|COMP||=||Comptroller of Currency|
|CPSC||=||Consumer Product Safety Commission|
|CRC||=||Civil Rights Commission|
|CSC||=||Civil Service Commission, U.S.|
|CUCO||=||Customs Service or Commissioner of Customs|
|DBCR||=||Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission|
|DEA||=||Drug Enforcement Agency|
|DHS||=||Department of Homeland Security|
|DOD||=||Department or Secretary of Defense|
|(identify components — Army, Navy, Air Force — separately,|
|( unless more than one is present, in which case use DOD)|
|DOE||=||Department or Secretary of Energy|
|DOI||=||Department or Secretary of the Interior|
|DOJ||=||Department of Justice or Attorney General|
|DOS||=||Department or Secretary of State|
|DOT||=||Department or Secretary of Transportation|
|EDUC||=||Department or Secretary of Education|
|EECC||=||U.S. Employees’ Compensation Commission, or Commissioner|
|EEOC||=||Equal Employment Opportunity Commission|
|EPA||=||Environmental Protection Agency or Administrator|
|FAA||=||Federal Aviation Agency or Administration|
|FBI||=||Federal Bureau of Investigation or Director|
|FBP||=||Federal Bureau of Prisons|
|FCA||=||Farm Credit Administration|
|FCC||=||Federal Communications Commission|
|FCUA||=||Federal Credit Union Administration|
|FDA||=||Food and Drug Administration|
|FDIC||=||Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation|
|FEA||=||Federal Energy Administration|
|FEC||=||Federal Election Commission|
|FERC||=||Federal Energy Regulatory Commission|
|FHA||=||Federal Housing Administration|
|FHLB||=||Federal Home Loan Bank Board|
|FLRA||=||Federal Labor Relations Authority|
|FMBD||=||Federal Maritime Board|
|FMC||=||Federal Maritime Commission|
|FMHA||=||Farmers Home Administration|
|FPB||=||Federal Parole Board|
|FPC||=||Federal Power Commission|
|FRA||=||Federal Railroad Administration|
|FRB||=||Federal Reserve Board of Governors|
|FRS||=||Federal Reserve System|
|FSLI||=||Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation|
|FTC||=||Federal Trade Commission|
|FWA||=||Federal Works Administration, or Administrator|
|GAO||=||General Accounting Office|
|GSA||=||General Services Administration|
|HEW||=||Department or Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare|
|HHS||=||Department or Secretary of Health and Human Services|
|HUD||=||Department or Secretary of Housing and Urban Development|
|IC||=||administrative agency established under an interstate compact (except for the MTC)|
|ICC||=||Interstate Commerce Commission|
|INCC||=||Indian Claims Commission|
|INS||=||Immigration and Naturalization Service, or Director of, or District Director of|
|IRS||=||Internal Revenue Service, Collector, Commissioner, or District Director of|
|ISOO||=||Information Security Oversight Office|
|LABR||=||Department or Secretary of Labor|
|LRB||=||Loyalty Review Board|
|LSC||=||Legal Services Corporation|
|MSPB||=||Merit Systems Protection Board|
|MTC||=||Multistate Tax Commission|
|NASA||=||National Aeronautics and Space Administration|
|NAVY||=||Secretary or administrative unit of the U.S. Navy|
|NCUA||=||National Credit Union Administration|
|NEA||=||National Endowment for the Arts|
|NEC||=||National Enforcement Commission|
|NHTS||=||National Highway Traffic Safety Administration|
|NLRB||=||National Labor Relations Board, or regional office or officer|
|NMB||=||National Mediation Board|
|NRAB||=||National Railroad Adjustment Board|
|NRC||=||Nuclear Regulatory Commission|
|NSA||=||National Security Agency|
|OEO||=||Office of Economic Opportunity|
|OMB||=||Office of Management and Budget|
|OPA||=||Office of Price Administration, or Price Administrator|
|OPM||=||Office of Personnel Management|
|OSHA||=||Occupational Safety and Health Administration|
|OSHC||=||Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission|
|OWCP||=||Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs|
|PATO||=||Patent Office, or Commissioner of, or Board of Appeals of|
|PAY||=||Pay Board (established under the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970)|
|PBGC||=||Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation|
|PHS||=||U.S. Public Health Service|
|PRC||=||Postal Rate Commission|
|PRRB||=||Provider Reimbursement Review Board|
|RRAB||=||Railroad Adjustment Board|
|RRRB||=||Railroad Retirement Board|
|SACB||=||Subversive Activities Control Board|
|SBA||=||Small Business Administration|
|SEC||=||Securities and Exchange Commission|
|SSA||=||Social Security Administration or Commissioner|
|SSS||=||Selective Service System|
|TREA||=||Department or Secretary of the Treasury|
|TVA||=||Tennessee Valley Authority|
|USFS||=||United States Forest Service|
|USPC||=||United States Parole Commission|
|USPS||=||Postal Service and Post Office, or Postmaster General, or Postmaster|
|USSC||=||United States Sentencing Commission|
|WPB||=||War Production Board|
|WSB||=||Wage Stabilization Board|
Note that the foregoing entries may also be found in the parties variables (variables 14 and 15 (pp. ??, ??)).
This variable will contain an entry only if the case was heard by a three-judge federal district court. Recent congressional legislation has reduced the kinds of lawsuits that must be heard by such a court. As a result, the frequency of entries in this variable is less for the Burger Court than for the Warren Court, and all but nonexistent for the Rehnquist Court.
|0||=||No mention that a 3-judge district court heard the case|
|1||=||3-judge district court heard the case|
The focus of this variable is the court in which the case originated, not the administrative agency (see variable 8). For this reason a number of cases show a state or federal appellate court as the one in which the case originated rather than a court of first instance (trial court). This variable has no entry in cases that originated in the United States Supreme Court.
Cases that arise on a petition of habeas corpus and those removed to the federal courts from a state court are defined as originating in the federal, rather than a state, court system.
The court of origin is identified by an abbreviated form of that used in the current edition of A Uniform System of Citation (Cambridge: Harvard Law Review Assn.)
|CCPA||=||Court of Customs and Patent Appeals|
|CIT||=||Court of International Trade|
|CTCL||=||Court of Claims, Court of Federal Claims|
|CTMA||=||Court of Military Appeals, renamed as Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces|
|CTMR||=||Court of Military Review|
|CTVA||=||Court of Veterans Appeals|
|FEDC||=||Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit|
|TECA||=||Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals|
|This variable has no entry if the case arose under the Supreme Court’s|
|original jurisdiction (which is typically indicated by a “9” in the JUR variable),|
|and in other proceedings with which no other court was involved (e.g., application for|
|admission to the Supreme Court’s bar).|
A petition for a writ of habeas corpus begins in the federal district court, not the state trial court.
Cases removed to a federal court originate there. Also see source of case (variable 11).
This variable identifies the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed. Forum identification is the same as for the preceding variable (variable 10). If the case originated in the same court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed, the entry in the ORIGIN variable (variable 10) should be the same as here. This variable has no entry if the case arose under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction.
Also see origin of case (variable 10).
An entry in this variable indicates that one or more of the members of the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed dissented from its judgment.
If a case arose on habeas corpus, a dissent will be indicated if either the last federal court or the last state court to review the case contained one. E.g., Townsend v. Sain, 9 L Ed 2d 770 (1963). A dissent will also be indicated if the highest court with jurisdiction to hear the case declines to do so by a divided vote. E.g., Simpson v. Florida, 29 L Ed 2d 549 (1971). Except for memorandum cases (see variable 33), the presence of such disagreement is limited to a statement to this effect somewhere in the majority opinion. I.e., “divided”, “dissented”, “disagreed”, “split”. A reference, without more, to the “majority” or “plurality” does not necessarily evidence dissent. The other judges may have concurred.
Note that the focus of this variable tends to be a statement that a dissent occurred rather than the fact of such an occurrence. Future NSF proposals may analyze the decision and opinions of the lower court; as a result, the fact of a lower court dissent will be the criterion for an entry here rather than a statement in the Supreme Court’s opinion. Presumably, the fact of a dissent is not always mentioned in the majority opinion. It may be irrelevant.
See, for example, McNally v. United States, 97 L Ed 2d 292 (1987), and United States v. Gray and McNally, 790 F.2d 1290 (1986).
|0||=||No mention of a dissent in the lower court|
|1||=||There was a dissent in the lower court|
This variable provides the reason, if any, that the Court gives for granting the petition for certiorari. If the case did not arise on certiorari, this variable will have no entry even though the Court provides a reason why it agreed to review the case. The Court, however, rarely provides a reason for taking jurisdiction (variable 7) by writs other than certiorari.
The focus in this variable is on the reason the majority gives for granting cert.
Accordingly, this variable will have no entry if it did arise on cert but is a memorandum decision (see variable 34) or was decided by a tied vote (again see variable 34).
SPSS specifies the values and value labels for this variable. Also see variable 7, manner in which the Court takes jurisdiction.
|0||=||Case did not arise on cert, or cert not granted|
|1||=||Conflict between or among circuits or other federal court|
|2||=||Conflict between or among circuits or other federal court|
|and to resolve “important” or “substantial” question|
|4||=||Conflict between or among circuits/ fed and state courts|
|5||=||Conflict between or among state courts|
|6||=||“Confusion” or “uncertainty” in federal courts|
|7||=||“Confusion” or “uncertainty” in state courts|
|8||=||Federal and state “confusion” or “uncertainty”|
|9||=||To resolve “important” or “substantial” questions|
|10||=||To resolve or decide question presented|
|11||=||No reason given|
|12||=||Reason other than 1–11|
These two variables identify the parties to the case. PARTY_1 refers to the party who petitioned the Supreme Court to review the case. This party is variously known as the petitioner or the appellant. PARTY_2 is conventionally labeled the respondent or the appellee. The specific codes that appear below were created inductively, with PARTY_1 as well as PARTY_2 characterized as the Court’s opinion identifies them.
In describing the parties in the cases before it, the justices employ terminology which places them in the context of the litigation in which they are involved. Accordingly, an employer who happens to be a manufacturer will be identified as the former if its role in the litigation is that of an employer and as the latter if its role is that of a business. Because the justices describe litigants in this fashion, a fairly limited vocabulary characterizes them. Note that the list of parties also includes the list of administrative agencies and officials contained in administrative action preceding litigation (variable 8).
Also note that the Court’s characterization of the parties applies whether the petitioner and respondent are actually single entities or whether many other persons or legal entities have associated themselves with the lawsuit. That is, the presence of the phrase, et al, following the name of a party does not preclude the Court from characterizing that party as though it were a single entity. Thus, each docket number will show a single PARTY_1 and a single PARTY_2, regardless of how many legal entities were actually involved.
Either PARTY_1 or PARTY_2, or both, may be blank if the record pertains to more than one memorandum decision (see variable 33). This happens because these combined cases contain a multiplicity of petitioning and/or responding parties who cannot be identified by a common descriptor. An entry for the parties appears, however, if this variable is itself without an entry, signifying a single case.
The decision rules governing the identification of parties follow.
Identify parties by the labels given them in the opinion or judgment of the Court except where the Reports title a party as the “United States” or as a named state. Textual identification of parties is typically provided prior to Part “I” of the Court’s opinion. The official syllabus — the summary — which appears on the title page of the case may be consulted as well. In describing the parties, the Court employs terminology which places them in the context of the specific lawsuit in which they are involved. E.g., “employer” rather than “business” in a suit by an employee; as a “minority”, “female”, or “minority female” employee rather than “employee” in a suit alleging discrimination by an employer.
Where a choice of identifications exists choose that which provides information not provided by the legal provision or the issue (see variables 24 and 29 (pp. ??, ??)). E.g., identify a federal taxpayer or an attorney accused of a crime as TAXP or ATTY rather than AC, particularly if neither the LAW nor the ISSUE variable identifies the case as a tax matter or one involving an attorney.
Identify the parties by reference to the following list and by the list of federal agencies provided in the ADMIN variable. Pay particular attention to the related descriptors which are enclosed in parentheses at the end of many of the entries in the following list.
Enter a “?” in the first column of the appropriate variable if the Reports do not identify the character of the pertinent party.
In the list of parties appended below, the states and territories of the United States are identified by the 2-letter ZIP abbreviation used by the U.S. Postal Service. “IC” has been added to this list to identify an interstate compact.
Federal agencies are identified by the specific abbreviation used in the ADMIN variable (variable 8). In criminal and habeas corpus cases, the name of the state which is involved in the prosecution (or the US in a federal criminal prosecution or habeas corpus against a federal official) is used rather than the office of the person who prosecutes or has custody of the accused or convicted person.
LIST OF PARTIES
|?||=||party not identified in the Reports|
governmental context [related entries are enclosed in parentheses]
|AG||=||attorney general of the United States, or his office|
|__ BD ED||=||specified state board or department of education|
|__ CITY||=||city, town, township, village, or|
|borough government or governmental unit (__NONMUN, __COUNTY)|
|__ COMN||=||state commission, board, committee, or authority (__DEPT)|
|__ COUNT||=||county government or county governmental unit, except school district|
|__ COURT||=||court or judicial district (__ JUDGE, __ S CT)|
|__ DEPT||=||state department or agency (__ COMN)|
|__ GOEE||=||governmental employee or job applicant, unless employee|
|is a GOFEE (female), GOMEE (minority), or GOMFEE (minority female)|
|__ GOFEE||=||female governmental employee or job applicant|
|__ GOMEE||=||minority governmental employee or job applicant|
|__ GOMFE||=||minority female governmental employee or job applicant|
|GOVT COR||=||federal government corporation not listed among agencies in variable 8|
|__ GREE||=||retired or former governmental employee (VETERAN)|
|HSE REPS||=||U.S. House of Representatives (LEGIS, SENATE, SENATOR)|
|__ JUDGE||=||judge (__ COURT)|
|__ LEGIS||=||state legislature, house, or committee (HSE REPS, SENATE, SENATOR)|
|__ NONMU||=||local governmental unit other than a county, city,|
|town, township, village, or borough (__ CITY, __ COUNTY)|
|__ OF||=||governmental official, or an official of an agency established under|
|an interstate compact. The first two columns identify the pertinent state,|
|the United States, or an interstate compact.|
|__ S CT||=||state or U.S. supreme court|
|__ SCHDIS||=||local school district or board of education|
|SENATE||=||U.S. Senate (HSE REPS)|
|SOVEREIG||=||foreign nation or instrumentality|
|___ TAXP||=||state or local governmental taxpayer, or executor of the estate of|
|__ U||=||state college or university|
nongovernmental context [related entries are enclosed in parentheses]
|AC||=||person accused, indicted, or suspected of crime|
|(ARRESTEE,CC, D, PRISONER, PROBATION, WITNESS)|
|AD||=||advertising business or agency|
|AGENT||=||agent, fiduciary, trustee, or executor (MGMT)|
|AIR MFR||=||airplane manufacturer, or manufacturer of parts of airplanes|
|AIRLINE||=||airline (BOAT, BUS, RR, SHIP, TRUCK)|
|ALCOHOL||=||distributor, importer, or exporter of alcoholic beverages|
|(BAR, BREWERY, DISTRIBUT, WHOLESALE)|
|ALIEN||=||alien, person subject to a denaturalization proceeding,|
|or one whose citizenship is revoked|
|AMA||=||American Medical Association (HEAL, HOSPITAL, PHYSICIAN)|
|AMTRAK||=||National Railroad Passenger Corp.|
|ARCADE||=||amusement establishment, or recreational facility|
|ARRESTEE||=||arrested person, or pretrial detainee (AC, CC, D, PRISONER, PROBATION)|
|ATTY||=||attorney, or person acting as such; includes bar applicant or law student, or law firm|
|AUTHOR||=||author, copyright holder (INVENTOR)|
|BANK||=||bank, savings and loan, credit union, investment company (CREDITOR)|
|BANKRUPT||=||bankrupt person or business, including trustee in bankruptcy,|
|or business in reorganization (DEBTOR)|
|BAR||=||establishment serving liquor by the glass, or package liquor store|
|BOAT||=||water transportation, stevedore (AIRLINE, BUS, RR, SHIPPER, TRUCK)|
|BOOK||=||bookstore, newsstand, printer, bindery, purveyor or distributor of books|
|or magazines (FILM, NETWORK, NEWS, PUBLISHER)|
|BREWERY||=||brewery, distillery (ALCOHOL, BAR)|
|BROKER||=||broker, stock exchange, investment or securities firm (STOCK)|
|BUILDER||=||construction industry (KOR)|
|BUS||=||bus or motorized passenger transportation vehicle|
|BUSINESS||=||business, corporation (AD, AIRLINE, AIR MFR,|
|ALCOHOL, ARCADE, BANK, BAR, BOAT, BOOK, BREWERY,|
|BROKER, BUILDER, BUS, CABLE TV, CAR DEAL, CHEM CO,|
|COAL CO, DISTRIBUT, DRUG MFR, ELEC CO, FARMER, FOOD,|
|FRACHISOR, FRANCHISE, HEAL, HOSPITAL, INSURE, KOR, MAGAZINE,|
|MEDICAL, MFR, MGMT, MINE, MOTOR CO, NETWORK, NEWS,|
|NONPROFIT, NUCLEAR, OIL CO, PARKING, PHONE, PI, PIPELINE, PRO, PU,|
|PUBLISHER, RADIO, REALTOR, RESTRANT, RR, SHIPPER, STORE,|
|THEATER, TIMBER CO, TRUCK, TV,WHOLESALE)|
|BUYER||=||buyer, purchaser (CONSUMER)|
|CABLE TV||=||cable TV (TV, NETWORK)|
|CAR DEAL||=||car dealer|
|CC||=||person convicted of crime (AC, ARRESTEE, D, POOR D,|
|CHATTEL||=||tangible property, other than real estate, including contraband (FILM, O)|
|CHEM CO||=||chemical company|
|CHILD||=||child, children, including adopted or illegitimate (FATHER, JUV, MOTHER, PARENT)|
|CHURCH||=||religious organization, institution, or person (ELEE)|
|CLUB||=||private club or facility|
|COAL CO||=||coal company or coal mine operator|
|COMPUTER||=||computer business or manufacturer, hardware or software|
|CONSUMER||=||consumer, consumer organization (BUYER)|
|CREDITOR||=||creditor, including institution appearing as such; e.g., a finance company (BANK)|
|CRIM INS||=||person allegedly criminally insane or mentally incompetent to stand trial (ICMP)|
|D||=||defendant (AC, CC, POOR D, PRISONER, PROBATION)|
|DEBTOR||=||debtor, excluding bankrupt person or business (BANKRUPT)|
|DEVELOPE||=||real estate developer (O, REALTOR, SHOP CTR)|
|DISABLED||=||disabled person or disability benefit claimant|
|(HANDICAPD, MED CLAIM, PATIENT)|
|DISTRIBU||=||distributor (BOOK, WHOLESALE)|
|DRAFTEE||=||person subject to selective service, including conscientious objector (MILITARY)|
|DRUG MFR||=||drug manufacturer|
|DRUGGIST||=||druggist, pharmacist, pharmacy|
|EE||=||employee, or job applicant, including beneficiaries of|
|(FEE, MEE, MFEE, __ GOEE, __ GOFEE, __ GOMEE, __ GOMFEE __ GREE)|
|EE TRUST||=||employer-employee trust agreement, employee health and|
|welfare fund, or multi-employer pension plan|
|ELEC CO||=||electric equipment manufacturer|
|ELEC PU||=||electric or hydroelectric power utility, power cooperative,|
|or gas and electric company (NUCLEAR, OIL CO, PU)|
|ELEE||=||eleemosynary institution or person (CHURCH, PI, NONPROFIT)|
|ER||=||employer. If employer’s relations with employees are governed by|
|the nature of the employer’s business (e.g., RR, BOAT), rather than labor law|
|generally, the more specific designation is used in place of ER.|
|FARMER||=||farmer, farm worker, or farm organization (FOOD, TIMBER CO)|
|FATHER||=||father (CHILD, MOTHER, PARENT)|
|FEE||=||female employee or job applicant (MFEE, __ GOFEE, __ GOMFEE)|
|FEMALE||=||female (FEE, MALE, MOTHER, WIFE)|
|FILM||=||movie, play, pictorial representation, theatrical production, actor, or|
|exhibitor or distributor of (BOOK, CABLE TV, NEWS, NETWORK, RADIO,|
|FISH||=||fisherman or fishing company|
|FOOD||=||food, meat packing, or processing company, stockyard (FARMER)|
|FOREIGN||=||foreign (non-American) nongovernmental entity (SOVEREIGN)|
|GAY||=||homosexual person or organization (PROT, RAMIPROT)|
|GUARANTO||=||person who guarantees another’s obligations|
|HANDICAP||=||handicapped individual, or organization of devoted to|
|(DISABLED, MED CLAIM, PATIENT)|
|HEAL||=||health organization or person, nursing home, medical clinic or laboratory,|
|chiropractor (HOSPITAL, MEDICAL, PHYSICIAN)|
|HEIR||=||heir, or beneficiary, or person so claiming to be|
|HOSPITAL||=||hospital, medical center (HEAL)|
|HUSBAND||=||husband, or ex-husband (SPOUSE, WIFE)|
|ICMP||=||involuntarily committed mental patient (CRIM INSA, RETARDED)|
|INDIAN||=||Indian, including Indian tribe or nation|
|INSURE||=||insurance company, or surety|
|INVENTOR||=||inventor, patent assigner, trademark owner or holder (AUTHOR)|
|IP||=||injured person or legal entity, nonphysically and non-employment related (PIP).|
|If unclear whether the injury is physical or not, the broader category,|
|IP, is used rather than PIP.|
|KOR||=||government contractor (BUILDER)|
|LICENSEE||=||holder of a license or permit, or applicant therefor (except to practice law. Cf. ATTY)|
|MED CLAI||=||medical or Medicaid claimant (DISABLED, HANDICAPD, PATIENT)|
|MEDICAL||=||medical supply or manufacturing co. (DRUG MFR, HEAL)|
|MEE||=||racial or ethnic minority employee or job applicant (__GOMEE, __GOMFEE, MFEE)|
|MFEE||=||minority female employee or job applicant (__GOMEE, __GOMFEE, MEE)|
|MFR||=||manufacturer (BUILDER, CHEM CO, COAL CO, DRUG MFR,|
|ELECCO, MEDICAL, MINE, MOTOR CO, OIL CO)|
|MGMT||=||management, executive officer, or director, of business entity (AGENT)|
|MILITARY||=||military personnel, or dependent of, including reservist (DRAFTEE, VETERAN)|
|MINE||=||mining company or miner, excluding coal, oil, or pipeline company|
|(COAL CO, OIL CO, PIPELINE)|
|MOTHER||=||mother (CHILD, FATHER, PARENT)|
|MOTOR CO||=||auto manufacturer|
|NEWS||=||newspaper, newsletter, journal of opinion, news service|
|(BOOK, FILM, MAGAZINE, NETWORK, PUBLISHER, REPORTER)|
|NETWORK||=||radio and television network, except CABLE TV (RADIO, TV)|
|NONPROFI||=||nonprofit organization or business (CHURCH, ELEE, ENV, PI, POL, PRO)|
|NUCLEAR||=||nuclear power plant or facility|
|O||=||owner, landlord, or claimant to ownership, fee interest, or possession of land|
|as well as chattels (CHATTEL, DEVELOPER, REALTOR, SHOP CTR, TENANT)|
|OFFEREE||=||shareholders to whom a tender offer is made|
|OIL CO||=||oil company, or natural gas producer (ELEC PU, PIPELINE, PU)|
|OLD||=||elderly person, or organization dedicated to the elderly|
|OUT OF S||=||out of state noncriminal defendant (NONRES)|
|PAC||=||political action committee|
|PARENT||=||parent or parents (CHILD, FATHER, MOTHER)|
|PARKING||=||parking lot or service|
|PATIENT||=||patient of a health professional|
|PHONE||=||telephone, telecommunications, or telegraph company|
|PHYSICIA||=||physician, MD or DO, dentist, or medical society (HEAL)|
|PI||=||public interest organization (ELEE, ENV, NONPROFIT)|
|PIP||=||physically injured person, including wrongful death, who is not an employee (IP)|
|PIPELINE||=||pipe line company (OIL CO)|
|PKG||=||package, luggage, container|
|POL||=||political candidate, activist, committee, party, party member,|
|organization, or elected official (HSE REPS, SEN ATE, SENATOR, VOTER)|
|POOR||=||indigent, needy, welfare recipient (MED CLAIM, POOR D, UNEMPLOYD)|
|POOR D||=||indigent defendant|
|PRISONER||=||prisoner, inmate of penal institution (CC)|
|PRO||=||professional organization, business, or person|
|(ATTY, DRUGGIST, HEAL, PHYSICIAN)|
|PROBATIO||=||probationer, or parolee|
|PROT||=||protester, demonstrator, picketer or pamphleteer (non-employment related),|
|or non-indigent loiterer (GAY, RAMIPROT)|
|PU||=||public utility (ELEC PU, NUCLEAR, OIL CO)|
|PUBLISHE||=||publisher, publishing company (BOOK)|
|RADIO||=||radio station (NETWORK)|
|RAMI||=||racial or ethnic minority|
|RAMIPROT||=||person or organization protesting racial or ethnic segregation|
|or discrimination (GAY, PROT)|
|RAMISTU||=||racial or ethnic minority student or applicant for admission to an|
|educational institution (STUDENT)|
|REALTOR||=||realtor (DEVELOPER, O)|
|REPORTER||=||journalist, columnist, member of the news media|
|RESTRANT||=||restaurant, food vendor (BAR)|
|RETARDED||=||retarded person, or mental incompetent (ICMP, CRIM INSA)|
|RETIREE||=||retired or former employee (__ GREE, VETERAN)|
|RR||=||railroad (AIR, BOAT, BUS, SHIPPER, TRUCK)|
|SCHOOL||=||private school, college, or university (CHURCH, STUDENT)|
|SELLER||=||seller or vendor|
|SHIPPER||=||shipper, including importer and exporter (AIR, BOAT, BUS, RR, TRUCK)*|
|SHOP CTR||=||shopping center, mall (O, STORE)|
|SPOUSE||=||spouse, or former spouse (HUSBAND, WIFE)|
|STOCK||=||stockholder, shareholder, or bondholder (INVESTOR,|
|STORE||=||retail business or outlet (CAR DEAL, DISTRIB, SHOP CTR, WHOLESALE)|
|STUDENT||=||student, or applicant for admission to an educational institution (RAMISTU)|
|TAXP||=||taxpayer or executor of taxpayer’s estate, federal only (__TAXP)|
|TENANT||=||tenant or lessee (O)|
|TIMBER C||=||forest products, lumber, or logging company (FARMER)|
|TOURIST||=||person traveling or wishing to travel abroad, or overseas travel agent|
|TRUCK||=||trucking company, or motor carrier (AIR, BOAT, BUS, RR, SHIPPER)|
|TV||=||television station (CABLE TV, NETWORK)|
|UMEM||=||union member (EE, UNION)|
|UNEMPLOY||=||unemployed person or unemployment compensation applicant or claimant|
|UNION||=||union, labor organization, or official of (EE, EE TRUST, UMEM)|
|VOTER||=||voter, prospective voter, elector, or a nonelective official seeking|
|reapportionment or redistricting of legislative districts (POL)|
|WHOLESAL||=||wholesale trade (ALCOHOL, DISTRIB, STORE)|
|WIFE||=||wife, or ex-wife (HUSBAND, SPOUSE)|
|WITNESS||=||witness, or person under subpoena (AC, ARRESTEE)|
Also see administrative action preceding litigation (variable 8).
This variable specifies the treatment the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed accorded the decision of the court it reviewed; e.g., whether the lower court — typically a federal court of appeals or a state supreme court — affirmed, reversed, remanded, etc. the decision of the court it (the federal court of appeals or the state supreme court) reviewed.
If the case is not a memorandum decision (see variable 33, type of decision), LODIS will not contain an entry if the decision the Supreme Court is reviewing is that of a trial court or if the case arose under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction (see variable 7). Memorandum cases will usually not contain an entry in this variable because the Court does not provide this information. SPSS lists the codes for this variable.
|0||=||Stay, petition, motion granted|
|3||=||Reversed and remanded|
|4||=||Vacated (or set aside) and remanded|
|5||=||Affirmed in part or reversed (or vacated) in part|
|6||=||5 + remanded|
|8||=||Petition denied or appeal dismissed|
The decision rules for entering this information follow:
Adhere to the language used in the “holding” in the summary of the case on the title page or prior to Part I of the Court’s opinion. Exceptions to the literal language are the following:
Except for DEC_TYPE = 3 cases (see variable 33, type of decision), if the LODIS variable has no entry, it means that the case arose under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction or that the decision the Supreme Court is reviewing is that of the trial court, tribunal, or agency itself — in which case the Supreme Court’s disposition is specified in the DIS variable, variable 35. However, if the court or agency of first instance either granted (=1) or denied (=8) the petitioner’s request, that entry will appear rather than the missing data symbol (.).
Also see disposition of case (variable 35) and direction of the lower court’s decision (variable 17).
This variable specifies whether the decision of the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed was itself liberal or conservative as these terms are defined in the direction of decision variable, variable 31.
LCTDIR permits determination of whether the Supreme Court’s disposition of the case (see variable 35) upheld or overturned a liberal or a conservative lower court decision.
Also see disposition of case by the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed (variable 16), direction of decision (variable 31), disposition of case (variable 35), and winning party (variable 37).
The day, month, and year the case was orally argued appear in this variable. Only formally decided cases and those decided by an equally divided vote are orally argued. For other types of decisions (see variable 33) ORAL has no entry.
On a few occasions, oral argument extended over two days. In these cases, only the first date is specified.
Unfortunately, two citations, LED=146/0254 and 146/0365, were argued on February 29, 2000. But SPSS failed to correct this Y2K problem. As a result, I have coded these oral argument dates as 28–FEB-00.
Also see reagument date (variable 19) and decision date (variable 20).
On those infrequent occasions when the Court orders that a case be reargued (less than two percent of the time), the date of such argument is specified here following the same year, month, day sequence used in the preceding variable.
Also see date of oral argument (variable 18) and decision date (variable 20).
This variable contains the day, month, and year that the Court announced its decision in the case. Unlike the two preceding variables, every case must contain a date of decision. Unfortunately, the Court decided a case on February 29, 2000 (LED=146/0001). For the reason specified in variable 18 (ORAL), it appears as 28-FEB-00.
Also see date of oral argument (variable 18) and reargument date (variable 19).
This variable identifies the various terms of the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts. The database begins with the 1953 term and extends through the end of the Court’s most recently completed term. Each term is identified by the year in which it began.
Also see chief justice (variable 22) and natural court (variable 23).
This variable identifies the chief justice for each case. SPSS contains the value labels.
Also see term of the Court (variable 21) and natural Court (variable 23).
Although most judicial research is chronologically organized by the term of the Court (variable 21) or by chief justice (variable 22), many scholars use “natural courts” as their analytical frame of reference. To accommodate them, this variable was created.
A natural court is a period during which no personnel change occurs. Scholars have subdivided them into “strong” and “weak” natural courts, but no convention exists as to the dates on which they begin and end. Options include 1) date of confirmation, 2) date of seating, 3) cases decided after seating, and 4) cases argued and decided after seating. See Edward V. Heck, “Justice Brennan and the Heyday of Warren Court Liberalism,” 20 Santa Clara Law Review 841 (1980) 842-843 and “Changing Voting Patterns in the Burger Court: The Impact of Personnel Change,” 17 San Diego Law Review 1021 (1980) 1038; Harold J. Spaeth and Michael F. Altfeld, “Measuring Power on the Supreme Court: An Alternative to the Power Index,” 26 Jurimetrics 48 (1985) 55. A strong court is delineated by the addition of a new justice or the departure of an incumbent. A weak court, by comparison, is any group of nine justices even if lengthy vacancies occurred. Thus, as is shown below, the first thirty months of the Burger Court comprise three strong natural courts, but only one weak one: the eight justices who sat during the 1969 term, the addition of Blackmun at the very end of the 1969 term, and the seven-member Court that sat from the retirements of Black and Harlan at the beginning of the 1971 term until the arrival of Powell and Rehnquist a few months later. These thirty months comprise a single weak natural court because only nine justices sat during this period, even though only six of the nine held membership from its beginning to its end.
I have divided the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts into strong natural courts, each of which begins when the Reports first specify that the new justice is present but not necessarily participating in the reported case. Similarly, a natural court ends on the date when the Reports state that an incumbent justice has died, retired, or resigned. In the description and listing of the natural courts below, I parenthetically designate the strong natural courts that constitute a weak natural court for those of you who prefer that focus. The courts are numbered consecutively by chief justice as the code at the left-hand margin indicates.
|WAR1||1953 term||Warren on, Jackson off|
|WAR2||1954 term, pre-Harlan||(weak court)|
|WAR3||1954 to early 1956 term||Harlan on, Minton off|
|WAR4||early to middle of 1956 term||Brennan on, Reed off|
|WAR5||early to middle of 1956 term to early 1958 term [a]||Whittaker on, Burton off|
|WAR6||early 1958 term to middle of 1961 term||Stewart on, Whittaker off|
|WAR7||rest of 1961 term [b]||White on, Frankfurter off|
|WAR8||1962-1964 terms||Goldberg on, Goldberg off|
|WAR9||1965-1966 terms||Fortas on, Clark off|
|WAR10||1967 to middle of 1968 term||Marshall on, Fortas off|
|WAR11||rest of 1968 term (weak court)||Warren off|
|[a] includes six records prior to Whittaker’s seating|
|[b] includes eight records prior to White’s seating|
|BURG1||virtually all of 1969 term||Burger on|
|BURG2||end of 1969 term, 1970 term||Blackmun on (weak court)|
|BURG3||1971 term, pre-Powell Rehnquist||Black and Harlan off (weak court)|
|BURG4||middle of 1971 term to early 1975 terms||Powell and Rehnquist on, Douglas off|
|BURG5||early 1975 term, pre-Stevens [c]||(weak court)|
|BURG6||mid 1976-1980 terms||Stevens on, Stewart off|
|BURG7||1981-1985 terms||O’Connor on, Burger off|
|[c] This court contains only twenty records|
|REHN1||1986 term||Scalia on, Powell off|
|REHN2||early 1987 term, pre-Kennedy||(weak court)|
|REHN3||middle of 1987 term-1989 term||Kennedy on, Brennan off [d]|
|REHN4||1990 term||Souter on [e]|
|REHN5||1991-1992 terms||Marshall off, Thomas on [f]|
|REHN6||1993 term||White off, Ginsburg on|
|REHN7||1994 term||Blackmun off, Breyer on|
|[d] includes one record after Brennan’s retirement|
|[e] includes two records prior to Souter’s seating|
|[f] includes eleven records prior to Thomas’s seating|
|ROBT1||2005 term to January 31 2006||Rehnquist off, Roberts on|
|ROBT2||Jan 31 2006 –||O’Connor off, Alito on|
Also see term of the Court (variable 21) and chief justice (variable 22).
This variable identifies the constitutional provision(s), statute(s), or court rule(s) that the Court considered in the case.
The basic criterion to determine the legal provision(s) that a case concerns is a reference to it in at least one of the numbered holdings in the summary of the United States Reports. This summary, which the Lawyers’ Edition of the U.S. Reports labels “Syllabus By Reporter Of Decisions,” appears in the official Reports immediately after the date of decision and before the main opinion in the case. Where this summary lacks numbered holdings, it is treated as though it has but one number.
I use this summary to determine the legal provisions at issue because it is a reasonably objective and reliable indicator. The scourge of analysts in this regard has been their inability to agree on just what legal provisions the Court addressed in a given case. Although one may argue that my criterion is excessively formalistic; that it is too gross; or conversely, too refined; no other feasible criterion matches it for objectivity and reliability.
I have supplemented this criterion with a set of subordinate decision rules. If the summary has no numbered headings, treat it as though it has but one number. If more than one numbered heading pertains to a single constitutional provision, statute, or court rule, treat such legal provision as though it appeared in but one numbered heading. If separate numerical headings pertain to different sections of a statute under a given title in the United States Code which would not be governed by conventional use of “et seq.”, treat them as separate legal provisions. (Note that this occurs very rarely.) If a numbered heading refers to more than a single constitutional provision, statute, and/or court rule, treat them as separate legal provisions. (This not uncommonly occurs.)
Observe that where a state or local government allegedly abridges a provision of the Bill or Rights that has been made binding on the states because it has been “incorporated” into the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, identification is to the specific guarantee rather than to the Fourteenth Amendment.
The legal basis for decision need not be formally stated. For example, a reference in the summary to the appointment of counsel under the Constitution or to the self-incrimination clause warrants entry of the appropriate code. (E.g., United States v. Knox, 396 U.S. 77; Lassiter v. Department of Social Services, 452 U.S. 18).
Also note that occasionally an unnumbered holding may pertain to more than one legal basis for decision. In such cases, the additional basis or bases are specified as though they are numbered holdings, or as though they are a holding without numbers.
By no means does every record have an entry in the LAW variable. Only constitutional provisions, federal statutes, and court rules are entered here. This variable will have no entry in cases that concern the Supreme Court’s supervisory authority over the lower federal courts; those where the Supreme Court’s decision does not rest on a constitutional provision, federal statute, or court rule; provisions of the common law; decrees; and nonstatutory cases arising under the Court’s original jurisdiction.
In cases where the Court considers multiple legal provisions no attempt is made to order their appearance. Where the constitutionality of a federal law is challenged, to give either the constitutional provision or the statute primacy would be arbitrary. To the extent that any order characterizes these LAW entries, it likely is the sequence in which they appear in the summary.
Beyond the foregoing, observe that an entry should appear in this variable only when the summary indicates that the majority opinion discusses the legal provision at issue. The mere fact that the Court exercises a certain power (e.g., its original jurisdiction, as in Arkansas v. Tennessee, 397 U.S. 91), or makes reference in its majority opinion — rather than in the summary — that a certain constitutional provision, statute, or frequently used common law rule applies (e.g., the “equal footing” principle which pertains to the admission of new states under Article IV, section 3, clause 2 of the Constitution, as Utah v. United States, 403 U.S. 9, illustrates) provides no warrant for any entry.
There are three exceptions to this “discussion” requirement, the first of which dismisses the writ of certiorari as “improvidently granted” — either in so many words (e.g., Johnson v. United States, 401 U.S. 846) or dismisses it on this basis implicitly (e.g., Baldonado v. California, 366 U.S. 417). In such cases, the code, WIG, should appear. More often than not, these cases have no summary. Note that the phrase is a term of art: 1) it overrides any substantive provision that the summary may mention (e.g., Conway v. California Adult Authority, 396 U.S. 107); 2) it does not apply where the Supreme Court takes jurisdiction on appeal (see variable 7).
In the second exception the Court, without discussion, remands a case to a lower court for consideration in light of an earlier decision. The summary of the earlier case is then consulted and the instant case coded with the entry that appeared there (e.g., Wheaton v. California, 386 U.S. 267). If a discussion in the summary precedes the remand, this variable should be governed by that discussion as well as the basis for decision in the case that the lower court is instructed to consider. Usually these bases will be identical (e.g., Maxwell v. Bishop, 398 U.S. 262).
The third exception to the “discussion” criterion involves the legality of administrative agency action without specific reference to the statute under which the agency acted. Inasmuch as administrative agencies may only act pursuant to statute, the majority opinion was consulted to determine the statute in question (e.g., National Labor Relations Board v. United Insurance Co. of America, 390 U.S. 254). The same situation may characterize the statute under which a court exercises jurisdiction (e.g., the Court of Claims in United States v. King, 395 U.S. 1).
An exclusively numerical entry identifies a provision of the original Constitution; a number followed by the letter “A” identifies an amendment to the Constitution; an exclusively alphabetic entry indicates either a commonly litigated statute or a court rule; while a one– or two–digit number followed by a hyphen and further followed by 1–4 additional digits indicates an infrequently litigated statute. The initial set of numbers identifies the title of the United States Code in which the statute appears, while the second set of numbers identifies the section of the title where the statute begins. Note that occasionally the abbreviation, “Appx” precedes the section number. This abbreviation is disregarded and only the section number is entered unless no section number appears, in which case the statute appears as, for example, 18-APPX.
In a handful of Rehnquist Court decisions, five digits succeed the section number. Only the first four appear.
Occasionally, a statute is cited only to the session laws (Statutes at Large). In these situations, the volume precedes and the page succeeds the letter, “S.” E.g., “1S329” in County of Oneida v. Oneida Indian Nation, 470 U.S. 226). A treaty is identified by the word, “TREATY”, and a statute of a territory of the U.S., which statute is not contained in either the U.S. Code or the Statutes at Large, by the word, “TERRITY”.
Because of the relative frequency with which certain non positive-law rules and doctrines form bases for the Court’s holdings, these are identified in this variable along with constitutional provisions, statutes, court rules, and treaties.
As indicated, this variable should usually lack an entry if the numbered holding(s) indicates that the Court’s decision rests on its supervisory authority over the federal judiciary, the common law, or diversity jurisdiction. (See variables 26-28 (pp. ??, ??), authority for decision.)
The format used to identify provisions of the original Constitution is as follows:
Provisions at issue in at least one decision of the Warren, Burger, or Rehnquist Courts are the following:
|11||=||delegation of powers|
|110||=||ex post facto|
|121||=||composition of the House of Representatives|
|123||=||apportionment of Representatives|
|161||=||speech or debate clause|
|172||=||separation of powers|
|181||=||spending, general welfare, or uniformity clause|
|183||=||interstate commerce clause|
|188||=||patent and copyright clause|
|1814||=||governance of the armed forces|
|1815||=||call-up of militia|
|1816||=||organizing the militia|
|1817||=||governance of the District of Columbia and lands purchased from the states|
|1818||=||necessary and proper clause|
|192||=||suspension of the writ of habeas corpus|
|193||=||bill of attainder or ex post facto law|
|196||=||preference to ports|
|110||=||state bill of attainder or ex post facto law|
|221||=||presidential pardoning power|
|312||=||good behavior and compensation clause of federal judges|
|32||=||extent of judicial power|
|321||=||case or controversy requirement (includes non-statutory “standing to sue”|
|even though no reference to the case or controversy requirement appears)|
|322||=||original jurisdiction (only if the propriety of its exercise is discussed.|
|The mere fact that a case arises hereunder [see variable 5] does not warrant entry)|
|41||=||full faith and credit clause|
|421||=||privileges and immunities clause|
Constitutional amendments are identified by the number of the amendment followed by the letter “A”. Where a given amendment provides more than a single guarantee, the 4th column (and the 3d, if the amendment contains a single digit) will be used to provide specific identification according to the following schedule:
|1A||=||speech, press, and assembly|
|1AEX||=||free exercise of religion|
|1AES||=||establishment of religion|
|6ACF||=||right to confront and cross-examine, compulsory process|
|6ACO||=||right to counsel|
|6AJU||=||right to trial by jury|
|6A||=||other Sixth Amendment provisions|
|8AEB||=||prohibition of excessive bail|
|8AEF||=||prohibition of excessive fines|
|8A||=||cruel and unusual punishment|
|13A||=||Thirteenth Amendment (both sections 1 and 2)|
|14A1||=||privileges and immunities clause|
|14A2||=||reduction in representation clause|
Note that where a state or local government allegedly abridges a provision of the Bill of Rights that has been made binding on the states because it has been incorporated into the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, identification is to the specific guarantee rather than to 14AD.
Frequently litigated statutes are identified by an exclusively alphabetic abbreviation except for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which contains the number of the Title at issue in the fourth column of this variable; e.g., CRA7; and the Reconstruction Civil Rights Acts which contain their section number; i.e., 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986.
In general, amendments to the following statutes are also identified by the statutory abbreviations specified below.
|ADA||=||Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended; also see HAND|
|ADEA||=||Age Discrimination in Employment|
|AFDC||=||Aid to Families with Dependent Children provisions of the Social Security Act,|
|AIR||=||Clean Air, plus amendments|
|APA||=||Administrative Procedure, or Administrative Orders Review|
|BANK||=||Bankruptcy Code, Bankruptcy Act or Rules, or Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978|
|CAID||=||Medicaid provisions of the Social Security Act|
|CARE||=||Medicare provisions of the Social Security Act|
|CRA____||=||Reconstruction Civil Rights Acts (42 USC 1971, 1978, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986)|
|CRA__||=||Civil Rights Act of 1964, plus title number, as amended,|
|except for the public accommodations provision which appears as CRAACOM|
|CRA1957||=||Civil Rights Act of 1957|
|CRA1991||=||Civil Rights Act of 1991|
|DC||=||statutory provisions of the District of Columbia|
|EAJA||=||Equal Access to Justice|
|EDAM||=||Education Amendments of 1972|
|ERIS||=||Employee Retirement Income Security, as amended|
|ESEA||=||Elementary and Secondary Education|
|FALSE||=||Federal False Claims|
|FCA||=||Communication Act of 1934, as amended|
|FECA||=||Federal Employees’ Compensation|
|FEE||=||Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Awards|
|FELA||=||Federal Employers’ Liability, as amended|
|FELC||=||Federal Election Campaign|
|FERP||=||Family Educational Rights and Privacy (Buckley Amendment)|
|FFDC||=||Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic, and related statutes|
|FIFR||=||Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide|
|FLSA||=||Fair Labor Standards|
|FOIA||=||Freedom of Information, Sunshine, or Privacy Act|
|FTC||=||Federal Trade Commission|
|FWPC||=||Federal Water Pollution Control (Clean Water), plus amendments|
|GUN||=||Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets, National Firearms,|
|Organized Crime Control, Comprehensive Crime Control, or|
|Gun Control Acts, except for RICO (q.v.) portion|
|HAND||=||Education of the Handicapped, Education for All Handicapped Children,|
|or Individuals with Disabilities Education Acts, or related statutes, as amended;|
|also see ADA|
|HC||=||28 USC 2241-2255 (habeas corpus)|
|ICA||=||Interstate Commerce, as amended|
|INA||=||Immigration and Naturalization, Immigration, Nationality, or|
|Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Acts, as amended|
|IRC||=||Internal Revenue Code|
|JONE||=||Jones, or Death on the High Seas|
|LHWC||=||Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation|
|LMRD||=||Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure|
|NEPA||=||National Environmental Policy|
|NGPA||=||Natural Gas, or Natural Gas Policy Acts|
|NLRA||=||National Labor Relations, as amended|
|OSHA||=||Occupational Safety and Health|
|PURP||=||Public Utility Regulatory Policy|
|RICO||=||Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations|
|RFRA||=||Religious Freedom Restoration|
|SEA||=||Securities Act of 1933, the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, or the Williams Act|
|SEL||=||Selective Service, Military Selective Service,|
|or Universal Military Service and Training Acts|
|SMIT||=||Smith, Subversive Activities Control, Communist Control,|
|or other similar federal legislation except the Internal Security Act (qv.)|
|SSA||=||Social Security, as amended, including Social Security Disability|
|Benefits Reform Act, but excluding Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income,|
|and Aid to Families with Dependent Children|
|SSI||=||Supplemental Security Income|
|STATE||=||state or local legislative enactments|
|TIL||=||Truth in Lending|
|TORT||=||Federal Tort Claims, or Alien Tort Statute|
|TWE||=||Trading with the Enemy Act, as amended|
|UCMJ||=||Universal Code of Military Justice|
|VRA||=||Voting Rights Act of 1965, plus amendments|
Decisions involving court rules are identified alphabetically according to the following schedule:
|CIVP||=||Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including Appellate Procedure,|
|or relevant rules of a circuit court|
|CRMP||=||Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, or relevant rules of a circuit court|
|FRE||=||Federal Rules of Evidence|
|SCTR||=||Supreme Court Rules|
Bases other than the Constitution or federal statutes are identified as follows:
|BACK||=||retroactive application of a constitutional right|
|EXCL_||=||exclusionary rule (admissibility of evidence allegedly in violation of the|
|Fourth Amendment , the right to counsel , or the Miranda warnings )|
|STATE||=||state law or local ordinance|
|WIG||=||writ improvidently granted (either in so many words, or with an|
|indication that the reason for originally granting the writ was mistakenly|
|believed to be present — e.g., 366 U.S. 417)|
International treaties and conventions, which rarely serve as the basis for the Court’s decision, are identified as TREATY, an interstate compact as IC, an executive order as EO, and a statute of a territory of the U.S., which is not in the U.S. Code or the Statutes at Large, as TERRITY.
Excluded as a numbered holding is one which states that a constitutional provision, amendment, or statute was not applied or considered in reaching the decision, or is “speculative” or “premature”.
If a numbered holding pertains to the exercise of judicial power without reference to a statutory provision or to Article III, no separate record is created to identify this feature of the case. Instead, a “3” will appear in the authority for decision variable to indicate the judicial power aspect of the legal basis for the Court’s decision (variables 26–28 (pp. ??, ??)).
A case which challenges the constitutionality of a federal statute, court or common law rule will usually contain at least two legal bases for decision: the constitutional provision as well as the challenged statute or rule.
Where a heading concerns the review of agency action under a statute, but the statute is not identified, it is ascertained from the opinion (e.g., National Labor Relations Board v. United Insurance Co. of America, 390 U.S. 254). So also where the decision turns on the statutory jurisdiction of a federal court, and the holding does not specify it (e.g., United States v. King, 395 U.S. 1).
Also see multiple legal provisions (variable 25) and authority for decision (variables 26–28 (pp. ??, ??)).
This variable indicates whether any given legal provision is the only one considered by the Court, or whether other(s) are also involved.
An entry appears in this variable in each record of such cases where there is a legal provision different from that of another record in the case. The only exception is a case where a single legal provision applies to more than one issue (see variable 29).
|0||=||No indication of multiple legal provisions|
|1||=||Multiple legal provisions|
Also see legal provisions considered by the Court (variable 24) and unit of analysis (variable 5).
These variables specify the bases on which the Supreme Court rested its decision with regard to each legal provision that the Court considered in the case (see variable 24).
Because one of these bases commonly occurs conjoined with another; e.g., the interpretation of the substantive provisions of a federal statute and the Supreme Court’s exercise of its supervisory power over the lower federal courts; two separate single-column variables (AUTHDEC1 and AUTHDEC2) follow the combined variable (AUTH_DEC). The coding is the same in all three and is specified in SPSS. In the foregoing example, the first variable will contain a “4”, the second a “3”. In a case involving congressional acquiescence to long-standing administrative construction of a statute, these variables should appear as “5” and “4”. If two bases are identified, and if one is more heavily emphasized, it should appear in the first of the two variables.
AUTHDEC1 will have an entry in every record that is not a memorandum case (see variable 33, type of decision). Most memorandum cases, by contrast, will not have an entry in either AUTHDEC variable. If the Court has summarily denied or dismissed the petition or appeal in such a case (DIS=8) (see variable 35, disposition of case), the AUTHDEC variables lack an entry except for three unusual cases: two at 409 U.S. 905, and 466 U.S. 977. All other DEC_TYPE=3 cases that show DIS=8 have no AUTHDEC entry.
Considerable congruence should obtain between the entry in the AUTHDEC variables and the code that appears in the LAW variable (variable 24). Thus, if a constitutional provision appears in the LAW variable, a “1” or a “2” will typically appear in either AUTHDEC1 or AUTHDEC2. Similarly, if LAW displays a statute, either AUTHDEC1 or AUTHDEC2 will likely show a “4”.
A common exception is where the Court determines the constitutionality of a federal statute, or where judge-made rules are applied to determine liability under various federal statutes, including civil rights acts (e.g., Pulliam v. Allen, 466 U.S. 522), or the propriety of the federal courts’ use of state statutes of limitations to adjudicate federal statutory claims (e.g., Burnett v. Grattan, 468 U.S. 42).
|1||=||Judicial review — national level|
|2||=||Judicial review — state level|
|3||=||Supreme Court supervision of lower federal courts|
|5||=||Interpretation of administrative regulation or rule, or executive order|
|7||=||Federal common law|
The decision rules governing each of the AUTHDEC codes are as follows:
Enter a “1” if 321 appears in the LAW variable. Enter a “1” if IC appears in the LAW variable.
Enter a “3” if WIG appears in the LAW variable. Non-statutorily based Judicial Power topics (700-899) in the ISSUE variable generally warrant a “3”.
Most cases arising under the Court’s original jurisdiction should receive a “3”.
All cases containing a “4” in the type of decision variable = 3.
Enter a “3” in cases in which the Court denied or dismissed the petition for review (indicated by an “8” in the disposition of case, variable 35) or where the decision of a lower court is affirmed by a tie vote (indicated by a “5” in the DEC_TYPE variable, variable 33).
Enter a “4” rather than a “3” if the Court interprets a federal statute governing the powers or jurisdiction of a federal court. In other words, a statutory basis for a court’s exercise of power or jurisdiction does not require that a “3” supplement a “4”; the latter alone suffices.
Enter a “4” rather than a “2” where the Court construes a state law as incompatible with a federal law.
Do not enter only a “4” where an administrative agency or official acts “pursuant to” a statute. All agency action is purportedly done pursuant to legislative authorization of one sort or another. A “4” may be coupled to a “5” (see below) only if the Court interprets the statute to determine if administrative action is proper.
In workers’ compensation litigation involving statutory interpretation and, in addition, a discussion of jury determination and/or the sufficiency of the evidence, enter either a “4” and a “3” or a “3” and a “4”. If no statute is identified in the syllabus, only enter a “3”.
Enter a "5’ and a “4”, but not a “5” alone, where an administrative official interprets a federal statute.
The final instruction under Re 4 applies to the use of “5”.
Enter a “5” if the issue = 721.
Enter a “7” if the Court without more merely specifies the disposition the Court has made of the case (see variable 35) and cites one or more of its own previously decided cases; but enter a “3” if the citation is qualified by the word, “see”.
Enter a “7” if the case concerns admiralty or maritime law.
Enter a “7” if the case concerns the retroactive application of a constitutional provision or a previous decision of the Court.
Enter a “7” if the case concerns an exclusionary rule, the harmless error rule (though not the statute), the abstention doctrine, comity, res judicata, or collateral estoppel. Note that some of these, especially comity issues (701-709), likely warrant an entry in both AUTHDEC variables: a “7” as well as a “3”.
Enter a “7” if the case concerns a “rule” or “doctrine” that is not specified as related to or connected with a constitutional or statutory provision (e.g., 376 U.S.398).
Also see legal provisions considered by the Court (variable 24).
This variable identifies the context in which the legal basis for decision (variable 24) appears. The First Amendment, due process, and equal protection, for example, separately apply to a substantial number of distinguishable issues as the codebook entries indicate. Thus, the equal protection clause may pertain to sex discrimination in one case, school desegregation in another, and affirmative action in yet a third — to say nothing of the employability of aliens, denial of welfare benefits, legislative districting and apportionment, the access of political parties and candidates to the ballot, durational residency requirements, the status of juveniles, of Indians, and the imposition of costs and filing fees on indigents in the justice system.
Although criteria for the identification of issues are hard to articulate, the focus here is on the subject matter of the controversy rather than its legal basis. I have attempted to identify issues on the basis of the Court’s own statements as to what the case is about. The objective is to categorize the case from a public policy standpoint, a perspective that the legal basis for decision (variable 24) commonly disregards.
Unlike the LAW variable where the number of legal provisions at issue has no preordained upper bound, an issue should not apply to more than a single legal provision. A second issue should apply only when a preference for one rather than the other cannot readily be made. Of the many thousand records in the database, few have a legal basis for decision that applies to a second issue.
I have identified some 260 issues, each of which has an identifying number, that have been organized into thirteen major groupings: criminal procedure, civil rights, First Amendment, due process, privacy, attorneys, unions, economic activity, judicial power, federalism, interstate relations, federal taxation, and miscellaneous. These comprise the codes for a separate variable, issue area, that is described immediately following this one.
The scope of these categories is as follows: criminal procedure encompasses the rights of persons accused of crime, except for the due process rights of prisoners (issue 504). Civil rights includes non-First Amendment freedom cases which pertain to classifications based on race (including American Indians), age, indigency, voting, residency, military or handicapped status, gender, and alienage. Purists may wish to treat the military issues (361–363) and Indian cases (293–294) as economic activity, while others may wish to include the privacy category as a subset of civil rights. First Amendment encompasses the scope of this constitutional provision, but do note that not every case in the First Amendment group directly involves the interpretation and application of a provision of the First Amendment. Some, for example, may only construe a precedent, or the reviewability of a claim based on the First Amendment, or the scope of an administrative rule or regulation that impacts the exercise of First Amendment freedoms. In other words, not every record that displays a First Amendment issue will correspondingly display a provision of the First Amendment in its legal provision variable (variable 24).
Due process is limited to non-criminal guarantees and, like First Amendment issues, need not show “5ADP” or “14AD” in its LAW variable. Some of you may wish to include state court assertion of jurisdiction over nonresident defendants and the takings clause (issues 506–507) as part of judicial power and economic activity, respectively, rather than due process. As mentioned, the three issues comprising privacy (531, 533, 537) may be treated as a subset of civil rights. Because of their peculiar role in the judicial process, a separate attorney category has been created (issues 542, 544, 546, 548). You may wish to include these issues with economic activity, however. Unions encompass those issues involving labor union activity. You may wish to redefine this category for yourself or combine it, in whole or in part, with economic activity. Economic activity is largely commercial and business related; it includes tort actions (issues 616–618) and employee actions vis-a-vis employers (issues 614–615, 621). Issues 650 and 652 are only tangential to the other issues located in economic activity. Judicial power concerns the exercise of the judiciary’s own power. To the extent that a number of these issues concern federal-state court relationships (i.e., 701–708, 712, 754, 755), you may wish to include them in the federalism category. Federalism pertains to conflicts between the federal government and the states, except for those between the federal and state courts. Interstate relations contain two types of disputes which occur between states. Federal taxation concerns the Internal Revenue Code and related statutes. Miscellaneous contains two groups of cases that do not fit into any other category.
If interest lies in a particular issue that has a specific legal or constitutional component, comprehensive coverage may be insured by listing not only the issue(s) that bear thereon, but also the appropriate code(s) from variable 24 (legal provisions considered by the Court). Thus, if the right to counsel is the focus, issues 030 and 381–382 will fall within its scope, as will code "6ACO" from the LAW variable. Also recognize that the parties variables (variables 14–15 (pp. ??, ??)) may also help locate the cases of interest.
The specific codes follow.
|0||=||issue not able to be identified|
|___ criminal procedure|
|013||=||habeas corpus (cf. 704): whether the writ should issue rather than the|
|fact that collateral review occurred. Note that this need not be a criminal case|
|014||=||plea bargaining: the constitutionality of and/or the circumstances of its exercise|
|015||=||retroactivity (of newly announced or newly enacted constitutional or statutory rights)|
|016||=||search and seizure (other than as pertains to 017 and 018)|
|017||=||search and seizure, vehicles|
|018||=||search and seizure, Crime Control Act|
|020||=||contempt of court|
|021||=||self-incrimination (other than as pertains to 022 and 023)|
|023||=||self-incrimination, immunity from prosecution|
|030||=||right to counsel (cf. 381-382)|
|040||=||cruel and unusual punishment, death penalty (cf. 106)|
|041||=||cruel and unusual punishment, non-death penalty|
|050||=||line-up (admissibility into evidence of identification obtained|
|after accused was taken into custody, or after indictment or information)|
|060||=||discovery and inspection (in the context of criminal litigation only, otherwise 537)|
|080||=||ex post facto (state)|
|100||=||extra-legal jury influences, miscellaneous: no question regarding the right|
|to a jury trial or to a speedy trial (these belong in 190 and 191, respectively); the focus,|
|rather, is on the fairness to the accused when jurors are exposed to the influences specified|
|101||=||prejudicial statements or evidence|
|102||=||contact with jurors outside courtroom|
|105||=||prison garb or appearance|
|106||=||jurors and death penalty (cf. 040)|
|110||=||confrontation (right to confront accuser, call and cross-examine witnesses)|
|___ subconstitutional fair procedure: nonsubstantive rules and procedures pertaining to|
|the administration of justice that do not rise to the level of a constitutional matter.|
|This is the residual category insofar as criminal procedure is concerned.|
|Note that this issue need not necessarily pertain to a criminal action.|
|If the case involves an indigent, consider 381-386.|
|111||=||confession of error|
|112||=||conspiracy (cf. 163)|
|114||=||exhaustion of remedies|
|115||=||fugitive from justice|
|116||=||presentation, admissibility, or sufficiency of evidence|
|117||=||stay of execution|
|118||=||timeliness, including statutes of limitation|
|120||=||Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, including application of the|
|Federal Rules of Evidence in criminal proceedings and criminal rules|
|of a court of appeals or state supreme court.|
|___ statutory construction of criminal laws: these codes, by definition|
|exclude the constitutionality of these laws|
|163||=||conspiracy (cf. 112)|
|164||=||escape from custody|
|165||=||false statements (cf. 177)|
|166||=||financial (other than in 168 or 173)|
|171||=||Hobbs Act; i.e., 18 USC 1951, not 28 USC 2341, the Administrative|
|Orders Review Act, which is also "commonly known as the Hobbs Act."|
|96 L Ed 2d 222, at 239.|
|172||=||immigration (cf. 371-376)|
|173||=||internal revenue (cf. 960, 970, 975, 979)|
|176||=||obstruction of justice|
|177||=||perjury (other than as pertains to 165)|
|178||=||Travel Act, 18 USC 1952|
|190||=||jury trial (right to, as distinct from 100-107)|
|199||=||miscellaneous criminal procedure (cf. 504, 702)|
|210||=||voting: does not extend to reapportionment and districting, which is 250,|
|or to litigation under the Voting Rights Act, which is 211, or to durational residency|
|requirements, which is 341. Entries are limited to cases raising constitutional questions|
|regarding the right to vote; typically, but not exclusively, under the|
|15th or 14th Amendments.|
|211||=||Voting Rights Act of 1965, plus amendments|
|212||=||ballot access (of candidates and political parties)|
|220||=||desegregation (other than as pertains to 221-223)|
|222||=||employment discrimination: on basis of race, age, religion, national origin,|
|or working conditions. Not alienage, which is 272, or gender, which is 284.|
|230||=||sit-in demonstrations (protests against racial|
|discrimination in places of public accommodation): to be sharply distinguished|
|from protests not involving racial discrimination. The latter are coded as 451.|
|250||=||reapportionment: other than plans governed by the Voting Rights Act|
|261||=||debtors’ rights (other than as pertains to 381-388): replevin, garnishment, etc.|
|Typically involve notice and/or hearing requirements or the takings clause.|
|271||=||deportation (cf. 371-376)|
|272||=||employability of aliens (cf. 371-376)|
|283||=||sex discrimination: excluding employment discrimination which is 284|
|284||=||sex discrimination in employment (cf. 283, 222)|
|293||=||Indians (other than as pertains to 294)|
|294||=||Indians, state jurisdiction over|
|301||=||juveniles (cf. 321)|
|311||=||poverty law, constitutional: typically equal protection challenges over welfare|
|benefits, including pension and medical benefits|
|312||=||poverty law, statutory: welfare benefits, typically under some Social Security Act|
|provision. Excludes 321 and 331.|
|321||=||illegitimates, rights of (cf. 301): typically inheritance and survivor’s benefits,|
|and paternity suits|
|331||=||handicapped, rights of: under Rehabilitation, Americans with Disabilities Act,|
|and related statutes|
|341||=||residency requirements: durational, plus discrimination against nonresidents|
|___||=||military (cf. 441, 705)|
|361||=||draftee, or person subject to induction|
|___ immigration and naturalization (cf. 172, 271-272)|
|373||=||loss of citizenship, denaturalization|
|374||=||access to public education|
|___ indigents (cf. 311-312): procedural protections for indigents because of their indigency.|
|Typically in matters pertaining to criminal justice.|
|381||=||appointment of counsel (cf. 030)|
|382||=||inadequate representation by counsel (cf. 030)|
|383||=||payment of fine|
|384||=||costs or filing fees|
|385||=||U.S. Supreme Court docketing fee|
|387||=||assistance of psychiatrist|
|391||=||liability, civil rights acts (cf. 616-617): tort actions involving liability that|
|are based on a civil rights act|
|399||=||miscellaneous civil rights (cf. 701)|
|401||=||First Amendment, miscellaneous (cf. 703): the residual category for all|
|First Amendment litigation other than the free exercise or establishment clauses|
|411||=||commercial speech, excluding attorneys which is 544|
|415||=||libel, defamation: defamation of public officials and public and private persons|
|416||=||libel, privacy: true and false light invasions of privacy|
|421||=||legislative investigations: concerning “internal security”only|
|422||=||federal internal security legislation: Smith, Internal Security, and related|
|430||=||loyalty oath or non-Communist affidavit (other than in 431-434)|
|431||=||loyalty oath, bar applicants (cf. 546, 548)|
|432||=||loyalty oath, government employees|
|433||=||loyalty oath, political party|
|434||=||loyalty oath, teachers|
|435||=||security risks: denial of benefits or dismissal of employees for reasons other|
|than failure to meet loyalty oath requirements|
|441||=||conscientious objectors (cf. 361-362) to military service|
|444||=||campaign spending (cf. 650): financing electoral costs other than as regulated|
|by the Taft-Hartley Act. Typically involves the Federal Election Campaign Act.|
|451||=||protest demonstrations (other than as pertains to 230): demonstrations and|
|other forms of protest based on First Amendment guarantees (other than the|
|free exercise or establishment clauses) or alternatively based on the equal|
|455||=||free exercise of religion|
|461||=||establishment of religion (other than as pertains to 462)|
|462||=||parochiaid: government aid to religious schools, or religious requirements|
|471||=||obscenity, state (cf. 706): including the regulation of sexually explicit|
|material under the 21st Amendment|
|501||=||due process, miscellaneous (cf. 431-434): the residual code for cases|
|that do not locate in 502-507|
|502||=||due process, hearing or notice (other than as pertains to 503 or 504);|
|hearing may be statutorily based|
|503||=||due process, hearing, government employees|
|504||=||due process, prisoners’ rights|
|505||=||due process, impartial decision maker|
|506||=||due process, jurisdiction (jurisdiction over non-resident litigants)|
|507||=||due process, takings clause, or other non-constitutional governmental|
|taking of property|
|531||=||privacy (cf. 416, 707)|
|533||=||abortion: including contraceptives|
|534||=||right to die|
|537||=||Freedom of Information Act and related federal or|
|state statutes or regulations|
|544||=||commercial speech, attorneys (cf. 411)|
|546||=||admission to a state or federal bar, disbarment, and attorney discipline (cf. 431)|
|548||=||admission to, or disbarment from, Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court|
|553||=||arbitration (in the context of labor-management or employer-employee relations) (cf. 653)|
|555||=||union antitrust: legality of anticompetitive union activity|
|557||=||union or closed shop:|
|includes agency shop litigation|
|559||=||Fair Labor Standards Act|
|561||=||Occupational Safety and Health Act|
|563||=||union-union member dispute (except as pertains to 557)|
|___ labor-management disputes (other than those above)|
|577||=||distribution of union literature|
|582||=||right to organize|
|587||=||union trust funds (cf. 621)|
|601||=||antitrust (except in the context of 605 and 555)|
|611||=||bankruptcy (except in the context of 975)|
|614||=||sufficiency of evidence: typically in the context of a jury’s determination of|
|compensation for injury or death|
|615||=||election of remedies: legal remedies available to injured persons or things|
|616||=||liability, governmental: tort or contract actions by or against government or|
|governmental officials other than actions brought under a civil rights action.|
|Those locate in 391.|
|617||=||liability, nongovernmental: other than as in 614, 615, 618|
|618||=||liability, punitive damages|
|621||=||Employee Retirement Income Security Act (cf. 587)|
|626||=||state tax (those challenged on the basis of the supremacy clause and the|
|21st Amendment may also locate in 931 or 936)|
|631||=||state regulation of business (cf. 910, 911)|
|636||=||securities, federal regulation of|
|638||=||natural resources — environmental protection (cf. 933, 934)|
|650||=||corruption, governmental or governmental regulation of other than as in 444|
|652||=||zoning: constitutionality of such ordinances, or restrictions on owners’ or|
|lessors’ use of real property|
|653||=||arbitration (other than as pertains to labor-management or|
|employer-employee relations (cf. 553)|
|656||=||federal or state consumer protection: typically under the Truth in Lending;|
|Food, Drug and Cosmetic; and Consumer Protection Credit Acts|
|___ patents and copyrights|
|664||=||patentability of computer processes|
|___ federal transportation regulation|
|673||=||truck, or motor carrier|
|674||=||pipeline (cf. 685)|
|___ federal public utilities regulation (cf. 935)|
|685||=||gas pipeline (cf. 674)|
|686||=||radio and television (cf. 687)|
|687||=||cable television (cf. 686)|
|689||=||miscellaneous economic regulation|
|___ comity, criminal and First Amendment (cf. 712): propriety of federal court deference to|
|ongoing state judicial or state or federal quasi-judicial proceedings, the|
|abstention doctrine, exhaustion of state provided remedies|
|712||=||comity, civil procedure (cf. 701-708): propriety of federal court deference|
|to ongoing state judicial or state or federal quasi-judicial proceedings,|
|the abstention doctrine, exhaustion of state provided remedies|
|715||=||assessment of costs or damages: as part of a court order|
|717||=||Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including application of the|
|Federal Rules of Evidence, the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure in civil|
|litigation, and Circuit Court rules|
|721||=||judicial review of administrative agency’s or administrative official’s|
|actions and procedures|
|731||=||mootness (cf. 806)|
|___ no merits: use only if the syllabus or the summary holding specifies one of the following bases|
|751||=||writ improvidently granted: either in so many words, or with an indication that the|
|reason for originally granting the writ was mistakenly believed to be present|
|752||=||dismissed for want of a substantial or properly presented federal question|
|753||=||dismissed for want of jurisdiction (cf. 853)|
|754||=||adequate non-federal grounds for decision|
|755||=||remand to determine basis of state court decision (cf. 858)|
|___ standing to sue|
|807||=||parens patriae standing|
|809||=||private or implied cause of action|
|___ judicial administration (jurisdiction of the federal courts or of the Supreme Court) (cf. 753)|
|851||=||jurisdiction or authority of federal district courts|
|852||=||jurisdiction or authority of federal courts of appeals|
|853||=||Supreme Court jurisdiction or authority on appeal from federal district courts|
|or courts of appeals (cf. 753)|
|854||=||Supreme Court jurisdiction or authority on appeal from highest state court|
|855||=||jurisdiction or authority of the Court of Claims|
|856||=||Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction|
|857||=||review of non-final order; i.e., allegation that the decision below is not a final|
|judgment or decree, or that it is an interlocutory judgment (cf. 753)|
|858||=||change in state law (cf. 755)|
|859||=||federal question (cf. 752)|
|860||=||ancillary or pendent jurisdiction|
|862||=||certification (cf. 864)|
|863||=||resolution of circuit conflict, or conflict between or among other courts|
|864||=||objection to reason for denial of certiorari or appeal (cf. 862)|
|865||=||collateral estoppel or res judicata|
|868||=||Act of State doctrine|
|870||=||Supreme Court’s certiorari or appeal jurisdiction|
|899||=||miscellaneous judicial power|
|900||=||federal-state ownership dispute (cf. 920)|
|910||=||federal pre-emption of state court jurisdiction: almost always found in the context of|
|labor union activity. Does not involve constitutional interpretation. Rests rather on a|
|primary jurisdiction rationale|
|911||=||federal pre-emption of state legislation or regulation (cf. 631): rarely|
|involves union activity. Does not involve constitutional interpretation unless|
|the Court says it does|
|920||=||Submerged Lands Act (cf. 900)|
|___ national supremacy: in the context of federal-state conflicts involving the general welfare,|
|supremacy, or interstate commerce clauses, the 11th or 21st Amendments,|
|or the enforcement clause of the 14th Amendment. Distinguishable from 910 and 911|
|because of a constitutional basis for decision.|
|931||=||intergovernmental tax immunity|
|932||=||marital property, including obligation of child support|
|933||=||natural resources (cf. 638)|
|934||=||pollution, air or water (cf. 638)|
|935||=||public utilities (cf. 681-688)|
|936||=||state tax (cf. 626)|
|949||=||miscellaneous federalism (cf. 294, 701-708, 712, 754-755,854, 858, 860)|
|950||=||boundary dispute between states|
|951||=||non-real property dispute between states|
|959||=||miscellaneous interstate relations conflict|
|960||=||federal taxation (except as pertains to 970 and 975): typically under provisions|
|of the Internal Revenue Code|
|970||=||federal taxation of gifts, personal, and professional expenses|
|975||=||priority of federal fiscal claims: over those of the states or private entities|
|979||=||miscellaneous federal taxation (cf. 931)|
Also see issue areas (variable 30).
This variable simply separates the issues identified in the preceding variable into the discrete issue areas that the ISSUE variable contains. SPSS specifies these and their labels.
Note that if a case contains multiple issues that transcend a single value, the substantive value (1–8, 11–13) will typically appear in the first record of the case, succeeded by the procedural value (9 or 10).
|0||=||Unable to be determined|
|1||=||Criminal procedure (issues 10–199)|
|2||=||Civil Rights (issues 210-399)|
|3||=||First Amendment (issues 401–472)|
|4||=||Due Process (issues 501–507)|
|5||=||Privacy (issues 531–537)|
|6||=||Attorneys (issues 542–548)|
|7||=||Unions (issues 553–559)|
|8||=||Economic activity (issues 601–699)|
|9||=||Judical power (issues 700–899)|
|10||=||Federalsim (issues 900–949)|
|11||=||Interstate relations (issues 950–959)|
|12||=||Federal taxation (issues 960–979)|
|13||=||Miscellaneous (issues 0, 980-999)|
Also see issue (variable 29).
In order to determine whether the Court supports or opposes the issue to which the case pertains, “direction” needs to be assigned. Specification of direction comports with conventional usage for the most part except for the interstate relations and the miscellaneous issues. An “8” has been entered in the DIR variable of these cases either because the issue does not lend itself to a pro or con description (e.g., a boundary dispute between two states), or because no convention exists as to which is the pro side and which is the con side (e.g., issue 980, the legislative veto). Except for these cases and those in which a tied vote or lack of information precludes a determination of how the Court resolved the issue in the case, each issue in each case will either indicate a liberal or conservative outcome.
|8||=||Unspecifiable (missing value)|
It bears emphasizing that the DIR entry is determined by reference to the ISSUE variable that the record identifies. It is entirely possible for a citation to relate to a second issue whose direction is opposite that of the original issue. For example,
Here, the Court decided that the Fourth Amendment (ISSUE=16) was not violated by a health inspector’s warrantless entry onto the property of a business to inspect smoke pollution (ISSUE=638).
To insure complete accuracy, consider including records in which ANALU=4, indicating citations with a split vote. In a few instances, e.g., Wolman v. Walter, 433 U.S. 29 (1977), some records for a citation may show DIR=1, while others display DIR=0. Counting such cases is a matter of judgment. In order to determine whether an outcome is liberal (=1) or conservative (=0), the following scheme is employed.
Each issue in cases containing multiple issues has direction assigned for each issue in accordance with the above schedule.
Also see direction of decision based on dissent (variable 32), issue (variable 29), and direction of the individual justices’ votes (variables 197–215 (pp. ??, ??)).
Once in a great while the majority as well as the dissenting opinion in a case will both support or, conversely, oppose the issue to which the case pertains. Thus, for example, the majority and the dissent may both assert that the rights of a person accused of crime have been violated. The only difference between them is that the majority votes to reverse the accused’s conviction and remand the case for a new trial, while the dissent holds that the accused’s conviction should be reversed, period. In such cases, the entry in the preceding variable should be determined relative to whether the majority or the dissent more substantially supported the issue to which the case pertains, and an entry should appear in this variable. Thus, in the foregoing example, the direction of decision variable (variable 31) should show a “0” because the majority provided the person accused of crime with less relief than does the dissent, and direction based on dissent should show a ‘1.’ The person accused of crime actually won the case, but won less of a victory than the dissent would have provided.
|0||=||Direction as specified in DIR (variable 31)|
|1||=||Direction actually the opposite of the DIR specification|
Also see direction of decision (variable 31).
Choice of a unit of analysis (see variable 5) does not end with a selection of citation, docket number, or one of the other options that ANALU provides. Users must also choose among the types of decisions that the Supreme Court renders. SPSS identifies these.
|1||=||Cases in which the Court hears oral argument and which it decides by a signed opinion.|
|These are the Court’s so-called formally decided full opinion cases.|
|2||=||Cases decided with an opinion but without hearing oral argument; i.e., per curiam.|
|3||=||Memorandum cases. These are summary decisions that deal with petitions for certiorari|
|and appeals, requests of individuals and organizations to participate as amicus curiae,|
|and various other motions, orders, and writs. These are segregated from the other types of|
|decisions by their location in the back of the various volumes of the United States Reports|
|beginning at page 801 or 901 or later.|
|4||=||Decrees. This infrequent type of decision usually arises under the Court’s original jurisdiction|
|and involves state boundary disputes. The justices will typically appoint a special master|
|to take testimony and render a report, the bulk of which generally becomes the Court’s decision.|
|The presence of the label, “decree”, distinguishes this type of decision from the others.|
|5||=||Cases decided by an equally divided vote. When a justice fails to participate in a case|
|or when the Court has a vacancy, the participating justices may cast a tie vote.|
|In such cases, the Reports merely state that "the judgment is affirmed by an equally divided vote"|
|and the name of any nonparticipating justice(s). Their effect is to uphold the decision of|
|the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed.|
|6||=||This decision type is a variant of the formally decided cases (DEC_TYPE=1).|
|It differs from type 1 only in that no individual justice’s name appears as author of the Court’s|
|opinion. Instead, these unsigned orally argued cases are labeled as decided “per curiam.”|
|The difference between this type and DEC_TYPE=2 is the occurrence of oral argument in the|
|former but not the latter. In both types the opinion of the Court is unsigned; i.e., per curiam.|
|7||=||Judgments of the Court. This decision type is also a variant of the formally decided cases.|
|It differs from type 1 in that less than a majority of the participating justices agree with the opinion|
|produced by the justice assigned to write the Court’s opinion. Except for those interested only in|
|the authors of the opinions of the Court, DEC_TYPE=7 should be included in analyses of the|
|Court’s formally decided cases.|
The database contains all decisions of types 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Because of their profusion and the very limited information that the Reports provide, the database contains only those back-of-the-book memorandum cases (DEC_TYPE=3) in which one or more of the justices wrote an opinion. Most such cases contain no opinion; hence, the database contains only a very small percentage of these cases.
The database also does not contain all of the non-orally argued per curiam decisions that appear in the front of the book (DEC_TYPE=2). The Reports for the last four terms of the Warren Court (1965-1968) (volumes 382-395 of the United States Reports and volumes 15-23 of the Lawyers’ Edition) and the first four terms of the Burger Court (1969-1972) (volumes 395-409 of the United States Reports and volumes 24-34 of the Lawyers’ Edition) list large numbers of brief, non-orally argued per curiam decisions in the main part of each volume. These cases differ from the memorandum decisions in the back of each volume (DEC_TYPE=3) only by the presence of the phrase, “per curiam”. This phrase has no practical import, except that a summary affirmance has precedential value, at least for the lower federal courts.
As a result, the database only includes those DEC_TYPE=2 cases, decided between the 1965 and 1972 terms, for which the Court has provided a summary, as well as those without a summary, in which one or more of the justices wrote an opinion. The Court, however, stopped its practice of including memorandum cases (DEC_TYPE=3) in the front of the Reports early in the 1972 term. Hence, beginning with volume 410 of the United States Reports the database includes all cases that appear in the front portion of the Reports, regardless of type.
Also see unit of analysis (variable 5) and multiple memorandum decisions (variable 34).
To avoid loading the database with an inordinate number of memorandum decisions (DEC_TYPE=3), this variable will identify the number of additional such cases that pertain to the same issue and which were decided by the same voting and opinion alignment as the cited case. These multiple decisions, which may range from one to several dozen, most often involve dissents to the imposition of the death penalty and dissents on the merits to the majority’s refusal to decide obscenity cases.
Nine Warren Court DEC_TYPE=2 cases, differing from DEC_TYPE =3 only by their position in the front — rather than in the back — of the United States Reports have an entry in this variable: 374 U.S. 97, 374 U.S. 498, 378 U.S. 547, 378 U.S. 550, 378 U.S. 553, 378 U.S. 556, 382 U.S. 4, 386 U.S. 267, and 392 U.S. 300. All other entries in this variable are to DEC_TYPE=3 cases.
Also see type of decision (variable 33).
The treatment the Supreme Court accorded the court whose decision it reviewed is contained in this variable; e.g., affirmed, vacated, reversed and remanded, etc. The entry in this variable governs the vote in the case (variable 40) and whether the individual justices voted with the majority or in dissent (variables 216–244 (pp. ??, ??)).
SPSS specifies the value and the value label used. They are the same as those in (LODIS): how the court whose decision the Supreme Court reviewed disposed of the case (variable 16).
|0||=||Stay, petition, motion granted|
|3||=||Reversed and remanded|
|4||=||Vacated (or set aside) and remanded|
|5||=||Affirmed in part or reversed (or vacated) in part|
|6||=||5 + remanded|
|8||=||Petition denied or appeal dismissed|
The information relevant to this variable may be found near the end of the summary that begins on the title page of each case, or preferably at the very end of the opinion of the Court.
As in the LODIS variable, the value label pertaining to the specific language used by the Court is entered. If incongruence between the Court’s language and the above codes occurs, consult variable 36 (unusual disposition).
Also see unusual disposition (variable 36) and winning party (variable 37).
A ‘1’ appears in this variable (DISQ) to signify that the Court made an unusual disposition of the cited case which does not match the coding scheme of the preceding variable. The disposition which appears closest to the unusual one made by the Court should be selected for inclusion in the preceding variable.
|0||=||No unusual disposition specified|
|1||=||Disposition other than those in DIS (variable 36)|
Also see disposition of case (variable 35) and winning party (variable 37).
A “1” in this variable indicates that the petitioning party — i.e., the plaintiff or the appellant — emerged victorious. The victory the Supreme Court provided the petitioning party may not have been total and complete (e.g., by vacating and remanding the matter rather than an unequivocal reversal), but the disposition is nonetheless a favorable one. Generally speaking, a favorable disposition (see the two preceding variables) is anything other than “affirmed”, “denied”, or “dismissed”. Exceptions, however, occasionally occur. Hence, it is more accurate to use this variable rather than the disposition variables (variables 35 and 36 (pp. ??, ??)) to determine the prevailing party.
|0||=||No favorable disposition for petitioning party apparent|
|1||=||Petitioning party received a favorable disposition|
Note that in cases containing multiple docket numbers, not every petitioning party will necessarily receive the same disposition. Hence, in focusing on the outcome of the Court’s decisions, docket number seems preferable as the unit of analysis (see variable 5) rather than case citation.
A “1” will appear in this variable if the majority opinion effectively says that the decision in this case “overruled” one or more of the Court’s own precedents. Occasionally, in the absence of language in the prevailing opinion, the dissent will state clearly and persuasively that precedents have been formally altered: e.g., the two landmark reapportionment cases: Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962), and Gray v. Sanders, 372 U.S. 368 (1963). Once in a great while the majority opinion will state — again in so many words — that an earlier decision overruled one of the Court’s own precedents, even though that earlier decision nowhere says so. E.g, Patterson v. McLean Credit Union, 485 U.S. 617 (1988), in which the majority said that Braden v. 30th Judicial Circuit of Kentucky, 410 U.S. 484, 35 L Ed 2d 443 (1973) overruled a 1948 decision. On the basis of this later language, the earlier decision will contain a “1” in this variable. Formal alteration also extends to language in the majority opinion that states that a precedent of the Supreme Court has been “disapproved”, or is “no longer good law.”
|0||=||No determinable formal alteration of precedent|
|1||=||Precedent formally altered|
Note, however, that formal alteration does not apply to cases in which the Court “distinguishes” a precedent. Such language in no way changes the scope of the precedent contained in the case that has been distinguished.
Do not assume that each record of a given case indicates the formal alteration of a separate precedent. A given citation may have several docket numbers, each of which is governed by a single opinion in which only one precedent was altered. Conversely, an opinion in a citation with a single docket number may formally alter a whole series of Supreme Court precedents. To determine the number of formally altered precedents, carefully read the prevailing opinion in each citation that has an entry in this variable.
An entry in this variable indicates that the Court either declared unconstitutional an act of Congress; a state or territorial statute, regulation, or constitutional provision; or a municipal or other local ordinance. SPSS specifies the coding for this variable. Dummy variable:
|0||=||No declaration of unconstitutionality|
|1||=||Act of congress declared unconstitutional|
|2||=||State or territorial law, regulation or constitutional provision unconstitutional|
|3||=||Municipal or other local ordinance unconstitutional|
An entry should appear in the record that lists the law declared unconstitutional. An entry should also appear in the record containing the constitutional provision that served as the basis for the declaration of unconstitutionality. None will appear when the Court merely cites a previous decision that has already been used to void the provision at issue; e.g., Grisham v. Hagan, 361 U.S. 278, 4 L Ed 2d 279, and McElroy v. Guagliardo, 361 U.S. 281, 4 L Ed 2d 282 (1960).
The summary frequently, though not invariably, will indicate such action in its statement of the Court’s holdings. Hence, where such action may have occurred, it may be necessary to read carefully the opinion of the Court to determine whether an entry should be made in this variable.
Where federal law pre-empts a state statute or a local ordinance, unconstitutionality does not result unless the Court’s opinion so states. Nor are administrative regulations the subject of declarations of unconstitutionality unless the declaration also applies to the law on which it is based. Also excluded are federal or state court-made rules; e.g., Virginia Supreme Court v. Friedman, 487 U.S. 59 (1988).
As with the preceding variable, do not assume that each of these records pertains to a separate statutory or constitutional provision. The Court will not uncommonly declare a particular statute void on several bases, or a number of dockets may pertain to the same voided law.
This variable specifies the vote in the case, n-to-m, as a single integer nm. Although a quorum requires the participation of six justices for a decision on the merits, as few as three suffice for the Court to take jurisdiction of a case (when only seven justices participate). Hence, the entries in this variable may range from 90 (9-to-0) to 30 (3-to-0).
The vote that appears in this variable pertains to the number of justices who agree with the disposition made by the majority (see disposition of case, variable 35) and not to the justices’ vote on any particular issue in the case (see variable 29). Thus, for example, in Bates v. Arizona State Bar, 433 U.S. 350 (1977), the vote in the case was 5 to 4, even though all participants agreed that the disciplinary rule prohibiting attorney advertising did not violate the Sherman Act. Unlike the majority, the dissenters disagreed that the rule violated the First Amendment.
Jurisdictional dissents and dissents from the denial of certiorari (see the discussion of these votes in variables 42-70 (pp. ??, ??), the votes, opinions, and interagreements of the individual justices) are counted as though the justice so voting did not participate in the case. Only dissents on the merits are specified in this variable.
Also see vote not clearly specified (variable 41) and the votes, opinions, and interagreements of the individual justices (variable 42 et seq.).
In the vast majority of cases, the individual justices clearly indicate whether or not they agree with the disposition (see variable 35) made by the majority. In approximately one percent of the records clarity is lacking, as when a justice concurs in part and dissents in part. A justice will typically use this or equivalent language to indicate agreement with the reasoning in a portion of the majority opinion while disagreeing with the majority’s disposition of the case, or vice-versa. A close reading of the justice’s opinion usually indicates whether he or she has concurred (i.e., agreed with the majority’s disposition) or dissented from the disposition made by the majority. But in the rare case where a justice does not clearly indicate which it is, this variable will contain an entry.
|0||=||Vote clearly specified|
|1||=||Vote not clearly specified|
Also see the vote in the case (variable 40).
This portion of the database contains a separate variable for each of the justices who have served on the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts. The first column of this variable contains the individual justice’s vote; the second column, the opinion, if any, that the justice wrote in the case; and the third and fourth columns, the letter that signifies the name of the justices with whose dissenting or concurring opinion the subject justice agreed.
Offsets and SPSS names for individual Justices:
Thus, for example, Justice Marshall”s vote is at offset 4, so it will be in variable 42 + 4 = 46; the SPSS name for the variable containing his vote is MAR.
The summary listing of the voting behaviors follows:
|1||=||voted with majority or plurality|
|3||=||regular concurrence (agreement with the Court’s opinion as well as its disposition)|
|4||=||special concurrence (agreement with the Court’s disposition but not its opinion)|
|6||=||judgment of the Court|
|7||=||dissent from a denial or dismissal of certiorari (literally and only such a dissent),|
|or dissent from summary affirmation of an appeal|
|8||=||jurisdictional dissent (disagreement with the Court’s assertion of jurisdiction|
|without addressing the merits, or without providing the parties oral argument)|
The second column of each justice’s variable specifies whether the justice wrote an opinion (=1), wrote an opinion jointly with (an)other justice (=2), or did not write an opinion at all (= ). Thus,
|1||=||justice wrote an opinion|
|2||=||justice co-authored an opinion|
|=||justice wrote no opinion|
The third and fourth columns of each justice’s variable indicate whether the justice agreed with a special opinion — i.e., some sort of dissent or concurrence — written by some other justice. The letter signifying which of the justices the named justice agreed with is as follows:
3d, 4th columns:
If a justice agreed with the opinion of two different justices, the letter signifying the second justice appears in the fourth column of the agreeing justice’s variable. If said justice agreed with more than two justices, or wrote more than one opinion in a single case, which rarely happened, an asterisk appears in the third column of said justice’s variable. In four such instances, a justice joined three opinions; in six others, he wrote two opinions. Two of these exceptional situations occurred during the 1981 term in Logan v. Zimmerman Brush Co., 455 U.S. 422, and Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800. In the former case, Justice Blackmun, in addition to writing the Court’s opinion (which is indicated by the “1” in the second column of his variable), also wrote a regular concurrence. This is evidenced by the “3” and the “I” appearing in the first and third columns of Marshall’s, Brennan’s, and O’Connor’s variables. The “I” identifies Blackmun and indicates that these three justices joined a regular concurrence (=3) authored by Blackmun. The same pattern applies to Harlow v. Fitzgerald and indicates that Brennan also wrote a regular concurrence in addition to co-authoring a joint concurring opinion, which is identified by the “2” in his second column. The presence of an “F”, denoting Brennan, in the third columns of Marshall’s and Blackmun’s variables indicates that this must necessarily be the case.
Note that a justice cannot agree with another justice’s special opinion unless said justice shows a “2”, “3”, “4”, “7”, or “8” in the first column of his or her variable. If the justice agrees with the opinion or judgment of the Court, a “1” will appear in the first column. And if a “5” appears, indicating nonparticipation, the justice by definition could not have agreed with anyone else’s opinion.
Also note that if no entry appears in the first column of a justice’s variable, of necessity the other three columns must also be empty. No entry in the variable means that the justice to whom that variable belongs was not a member of the Court when that case was decided, or that a particular justice may have been a member of the Court at that time but the case was decided by a tie vote. The Reports only publish the name(s) of the nonparticipating justice(s) in such cases.
Determination of how a given justice voted and whether or not he or she wrote an opinion is by no means a simple matter of culling the Reports. The justices do not always make their actions clear. Therefore, decision rules must be formulated. Furthermore, notwithstanding resort to the decision rules presented below, a judgment — not necessarily bright line — needs be made as to how the justices voted and whether or not an opinion was written.
With regard to special opinion writing, a justice has three options: 1) author an opinion, 2) author an opinion jointly with other justices, or 3) write no opinion. If a justice writes no opinion, the second of the four columns in the variable is left blank; if a justice solely authors an opinion, a “1” appears. If a joint opinion is written, a “2” appears.
For the purpose of determining which option a justice chose, the following decision rules apply:
Two problems afflict efforts to specify votes: 1) whether the vote is a regular or a special concurrence, and 2) the treatment to be accorded a vote “concurring in part and dissenting in part.” The former typically manifests itself when a justice joins the opinion of the Court “except for . . .”. Because such exceptions typically tend to approach de minimis status, I treat them as regular concurrences. For example, Chief Justice Burger concurred in the opinion of the Court in New York Gaslight Club, Inc. v. Carey, except for “footnote 6 thereof.” 447 U.S. 54, at 71. Similarly, Blackmun’s agreement with the Court in Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, except for “that sentence thereof . . .” 447 U.S. 74, at 88. Where the Reports identify a justice as “concurring” or “concurring in part,” said justice is treated as a member of the majority opinion coalition (i.e., as = 3), rather than a merely concurring in the result (i.e., as = 4).
Whereas the preceding problem pertains to determining which type of concurrence a vote is, the problem with votes concurring and dissenting in part is whether they are special concurrences (= 4) or dissents (= 2). This matter was addressed previously in connection with variable 41 (vote not clearly specified). A vote concurring and dissenting in part is listed as a special concurrence if the justice(s) doing so does not disagree with the majority’s disposition of the case. This may occur when: 1) the justice concurring and dissenting in part voices disagreement with some or all of the majority’s reasoning; 2) when said justice disapproves of the majority’s deciding or refusing to decide additional issues involved in the case; or 3) when in a case in which dissent has been voiced, the justice(s) concurring and dissenting in part votes to dispose of the case in a manner more closely approximating that of the majority than that of the dissenter(s).
In cases where determination of whether a vote concurring and dissenting in part is the former or the latter is not beyond cavil, an entry will appear in the VOTEQ variable (41) of the affected case to allow users of the database to make an independent judgment, if they are so minded. Note, however, that listing such votes as dissents (= 2) or special concurrence (= 4) has no effect on whether or not an opinion is written. A “1” (sole author) or “2” (co-author) will appear in the second column of the pertinent justice’s variable — as well as in that justice’s opinion variable (see variables 104–134 (pp. ??, ??)) — regardless of whether a “2” (dissent) or “4” (special concurrence) appears in the first column of his or her variable.
The third and fourth columns of each justice’s variable are used to identify the concurring and dissenting opinions with which the subject justice agreed, as are the parallel A1 and A2 single- column variables for each justice (variables 135–165 (pp. ??, ??) and variables 166–196 (pp. ??, ??)). These columns and variables, then, enable the interagreement matrix of each case decided by the Court to be mapped. Each justice has been assigned a letter of the alphabet, as designated in the listing above, to indicate his or her agreement with the justice in whose variable the designated abbreviation appears.
Accordingly, the appearance of a letter in the third column of any justice’s 4-column variable or in that justice’s A1 or A2 variables indicates that said justice agreed with a dissenting or concurring opinion written by the justice whose letter appears. If a second letter appears in the fourth column of a justice’s variable, or in the A2 variable, that means that said justice agreed with the opinion of two different justices. A second join does not occur very frequently.
Still less frequent are cases in which a justice joins three other justices’ opinions. An asterisk in the third column of the joining justice’s 4-column and in the A1 variables specifies these situations. An asterisk in these same places also identifies the instances when a justice wrote two opinions in a single case. Whether the asterisked justice wrote two opinions or joined the opinions of three other justices is clear from the behavior of the other justices.
As explained above, the preceding variable contains four columns, the first of which indicates the justice’s vote. This variable breaks out the contents of this column and places it here. For example, assume that the entries in DOUG for a given record reveal the following data: 21BT. Variable DOUGV (for Douglas’ vote) will contain a ‘2’; DOUGO (for Douglas’ opinion) a ‘1’; DOUGA1 (for the name of the justice who wrote a dissent or concurrence with which Douglas agreed) a ‘B’; and DOUGA2 (for the name of a second justice with whose dissent or concurrence Douglas also agreed) a ‘T’. Accordingly, in this case, Douglas dissented and wrote an opinion; compatibly with the abbreviations provided in the preceding variable, he also agreed with a dissenting opinion that Black wrote, as well as one written by Warren.
The reason for breaking the 4-column variable into its singular components is because of the way SPSS searches through a data file. If we relied on the 4-column variable to identify the cases in which Justice Marshall agreed with a dissenting or concurring opinion of Chief Justice Burger, we would have to specify all of the combinations of codes that could appear in all four variables when Marshall’s third or fourth column contained an “H” signifying Burger. SPSS is simply not equipped to pick out an “H” anywhere in a multicolumn variable. Thus, in the example, we would need to compile an exhaustive set of SELECT IF commands: ‘21H ’ ‘2 H ’ ‘31H ’ ‘3 H ’, etc.
This set of variables uses the same name abbreviation for each of the justices as heads the variable for that justice’s overall behavior, with a ‘v’ added to its end.
Offsets and SPSS names for individual Justices:
|1||=||Voted with majority or plurality|
|6||=||Judgement of the Court|
|7||=||Dissent from denial of cert|
This field indicates the opinion, if any, that the named justice wrote. The initial abbreviation of each justice’s name continues to be used, followed here by an ‘O.’
Offsets and SPSS names for individual Justices:
|0||=||Did not write an opinion|
|1||=||Wrote an opinion|
|2||=||Wrote a co-authored opinion|
This pair of fields follows the format of the preceding two. It contains the letter abbreviation of the justice with whose special opinion the named justice agreed. Two agreements are allowed for. The abbreviation of the named justice is followed by an ‘A1’ for the initial join, an ‘A2’ for the second one.
Asterisks in these fields means that the subject justice did not agree with any other justice’s special opinion.
Offsets and SPSS names for individual Justices:
|Alito||30||ALTOA1, A2||Black||1||BLKA1, A2||Blackmun||18||BLKMA1, A2|
|Brennan||5||BRNA1, A2||Breyer||28||BRYA1, A2||Burger||17||BURGA1, A2|
|Burton||11||BURTA1, A2||Clark||8||CLKA1, A2||Douglas||2||DOUGA1, A2|
|Fortas||13||FORTA1, A2||Frankfurter||9||FRKA1, A2||Ginsburg||27||GINSA1, A2|
|Goldberg||14||GOLDSA1, A2||Harlan||0||HARA1, A2||Jackson||16||JACKA1, A2|
|Kennedy||24||KENA1, A2||Marshall||4||MARA1, A2||Minton||15||MINTA1, A2|
|0’Connor||22||OCONA1, A2||Powell||19||POWA1, A2||Reed||12||REEDA1, A2|
|Rehnquist||20||REHNA1, A2||Roberts||29||ROBTA1, A2||Scalia||23||SCALA1, A2|
|Souter||25||SOUTA1, A2||Stevens||21||STEVA1, A2||Stewart||3||STWTA1, A2|
|Thomas||26||THOMA1, A2||Warren||7||WARA1, A2||White||6||BWA1, A2|
|*||=||Did not join special opinion|
|=||Otherwise, single-letter abbreviation (see page 107 identifying justices|
|with whom this Justice agreed in special opinion)|
This variable, like the preceding one, creates a separate variable for each of the justices who have sat on the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist Courts. Each justice’s variable is identified by the same 2- to 4-letter abbreviation used in the preceding variable, but here the abbreviation is followed by the letters “DIR”.
Whereas the pertinent portion of the preceding variable specified how a justice voted in a given case, this variable indicates whether the justice’s vote was liberal or conservative.
Offsets and SPSS names for individual Justices:
|8||Unspecifiable, missing value|
|9||=||Unspecifiable, missing value (?Harlan only)|
Also see the votes, opinions, and interagreements of the individual justices, and direction of decision (variable 31).
Analysts commonly want to know the frequency with which given justices vote with the majority and/or in dissent overall or in certain sets of circumstances. This variable provides that information. SPSS contains the coding of this variable.
Offsets and SPSS names for individual Justices:
|1||=||Voted with majority|
|2||=||Voted with a dissent|
This variable identifies the assigner of the opinion or judgment of the Court, as the case may be. These data are drawn from the membership in the final (report vote) coalition and from the rules governing opinion assignment: If the chief justice is a member of the majority vote coalition at the conference vote, he assigns the opinion; if not, the senior associate justice who is a member of the majority at the conference vote does so. According to the leading authorities on conference voting, Jan Palmer and Saul Brenner, considerable voting shifts occur between the final conference vote (where the assignment is made) and the vote that appears in the Reports. As a result, in approximately 16 percent of the cases, a person other than the one identified by the database actually assigned the opinion.
To overcome this discrepancy, users may consult the expanded versions of the database, which are also available from the MSU judicial center website, but which include only the Vinson, Warren, and Burger Courts. Assigners in these cases are identified by direct reference to the justices’ docket books.
The justices’ are identified by multi-letter abbreviations of their names (see variable 42 on page 105).
This variable identifies the author of the Court’s opinion or judgment, as the case may be. The justices are identified by the multi-letter abbreviations of their names (see variable 42 on page 105). This field may also contain COURT, for an orally argued per curiam.
This field discloses whether the case was decided by a margin of one vote. (Tied votes are not considered because they have no majority or plurality opinion and as such automatically affirm the lower court’s decision without further ado.) Minimum winning coalitions are those decided by a 5–4 or a 4–3 vote, and by those that reverse the lower court’s decision by a 5–3 or 4–2 vote.
Where dissenters divide and separately locate on either ideological side of the majority opinion coalition leaving it with five votes, the decision is not considered minimum winning, but rather, for example, a pair of 7–2 decisions, one liberal and the one conservative. See 152 L Ed 2d 589 for an example.
|0||=||Final vote not a minimum winning coalition|
|1||=||Final vote was a minimum winning coaltion|
This appendix reports the results of the reliability check of the variables in the Warren-Burger-Rehnquist database.
Throughout the years that the database has existed, considerable time and effort has been devoted to “cleaning” – to checking the accuracy of the data that had been entered into various variables. I did so not only to insure that the entries in various variables accorded with the codes and their decision rules, but also because data were entered intermittently for every variable rather than in one consecutive undertaking. This procedure increased the probability of systematic error on the one hand, but on the other it allowed me to check the accuracy of what had previously been entered whenever I detected errors of either omission or commission. Needless to say, errors manifested themselves with aggravating — and sometimes inexplicable — frequency.
The results of the reliability check suggest, however, that the foregoing method of entering and cleaning data produces a high level of accuracy. They are reported for the Warren and Burger Courts separately for each variable, along with an assessment of the differences that did emerge between the coder and the recoder. A random sample of 267 separate citations was drawn, 96 of which were from the Warren Court and 171 from the Burger Court. No Rehnquist Court citations will be included in the reliability check until it ceases to exist. The 267 randomly selected separate citations produced a grand total of 357 records, 141 for the 96 Warren Court citations and 216 for the 171 Burger Court citations. A graduate student did the recoding. He was familiar with the database, having used preliminary versions in his own research.
Where non-categorical data were coded and accuracy is known objectively — e.g., case citation, docket number, the author of an opinion, the court in which the case originated, date of decision — reliability is measured by the extent to which the entries correspond exactly with what appears in the official Reports. Where a variable involves the exercise of judgment and the coding falls into one of a set of previously defined values — e.g., the legal provisions considered by the Court, the issue that a case presents, the reason the Court granted cert — reliability is measured by the extent to which the coders agreed. I have not used various statistical measures of association — e.g., pi, lambda, phi, Pearson — because each makes assumptions that are arbitrary to some extent. Instead, I provide simple percentages and a specification of the errors that precluded perfect agreement, along with other information pertinent to the reliability of the particular variable.
I also recoded the sampled cases independently and subsequently of the recoder in an attempt to determine if I had unconsciously applied the discretionary codes differently at one point during the years of coding than I had at another. Although I found no appreciable indications of such conduct except for authority for decision (variables 26-28 (pp. ??, ??)), my recoding did show substantial variance in certain variables whose entries required little, if any, exercise of discretion. The recoder’s work also revealed my errors in most of these variables. As a result, these variables — number of records per unit of analysis (variable 6), three-judge district court (variable 9), lower court disagreement (variable 12), and reason stated for granting certiorari (variable 13) — have all been rechecked for all cases in both the Warren and Burger Courts.
The reliability check revealed no discrepancies in the coding of the US variable for either the Warren or the Burger Courts. In the LED variable, both coders made an identical entry for all the Burger Court records. Three Warren Court citations produced different entries because the title to the last three in a set of six cases began on the page subsequent to the page on which the first three began (100/1220 versus 100/1221). The coding instructions do not address the question of whether all the docket numbers of cases decided under a common set of opinions should cite the same page as the lead case or not. In the SCT variable, the reliability check showed the last two digits in one Warren Court citation to be in error, as well as the last digit in one Burger Court citation. Identity, therefore, is 99.0 and 99.4 percent, respectively. But if we count accuracy digit by digit instead of citation by citation, SCT agreement reaches 99.88 percent for the combined Courts.
One Warren Court docket number was incorrectly entered. This occurred in a companion case. Apparently the companion case was duplicated by a programming command and through oversight the docket number was not changed from that of the lead case. Identity, therefore, obtained in 111 of the 112 Warren Court citations (99.1 percent). The Burger Court produced two errors among its 194 docket numbers, both of which incorrectly list the second digit of the year in which a pair of companion cases reached the Supreme Court (78 rather than 79). Identity of entry, therefore, equals 99.0 percent. Inasmuch as the typical docket number contains five digits, these interagreement percentages could be increased by a magnitude of five.
On the Warren Court, nine discrepancies occurred between the original coding and the recoding. (References to these discrepancies are LED citations.) Note that these discrepancies pertain to the number of records rather than to differences in the entry in the ANALU variable. The recoder created 141 records from the 96 randomly selected Warren Court citations. Of the recoder’s 141 records, 139 are contained in the database. Hence, 139 of the 141 are common to both. The recoder duplicated two records that the database does not contain (001/0207 and 002/0282). He identified 001/0207 as a multi-issue case (ANALU=2) and the latter as having a second legal provision (ANALU=3). By contrast, the database contains seven duplicated records that the recoder did not include: 098/0168, 100/0692, 011/0004, and 015/0284. The last of these was duplicated four times with ANALU=2. It is a citation with four docket numbers. The other three records were duplicated with ANALU=5, 2, and 3, respectively.
Of these nine discrepancies, 100/0692, 001/0207, and the four times duplicated 015/0284 may equally plausibly be either single or double issue cases; the same is true of 098/0168, which is double listed with ANALU=5. Entering 002/0282 as three records, each with a different LAW, rather than as two records, is based on the text of the majority opinion rather than the official summary. On the basis of the summary, the case should have only two records — one statutory and the other constitutional. But reading the majority opinion indicates that the case actually concerns three separate legal provisions — one statutory and two constitutional. On the other hand, the coding instructions do state that determination of the legal provision(s) at issue should be based on the numbered headings in the summary, not the content of the majority opinion. Finally, 011/0004 is equally plausibly a single or a double LAW inasmuch as the summary for this non-orally argued case lacks numbered headings.
Of the 139 Warren Court records common to both the coder and the recoder, two discrepancies occur: 099/0210 is listed in one as ANALU=3 twice, while the other set lists ANALU=3 in one record and as ANALU=5 in the other. Either option is equally plausible. The second entry of 001/1544 omitted the “1” in the ANALU variable. A blank appeared instead. This is clearly an error.
Nine discrepancies also occur in the Burger Court records. Out of a total of 216, 214 match. The database contains seven duplicates absent from the recoder’s database: 024/0470, 033/0154, 034/0342, 036/0941, 045/0012, 047/0154, 071/0580. The recoder duplicated 2 records absent from the database: 041/0706, 083/0343.
Of the 214 common records, five disagree on the specific entry in the ANALU variable: 065/0555, 5 vs. 3; 080/0622, 2 vs. 5; 088/0598, 5 vs. 2; and the two-docket number 092/0675, 5 vs. 3. These are debatable except 080/0622, which should be a 5.
Of the nine discrepancies, it is debatable whether 034/0342 should also specify LAW=1A, along with 21A; whether 041/0706 should identify two separate standing ISSUEs, 802 and 810; whether 047/0154 contains two distinct sets of votes; whether 071/0580 should specify 931 and 626 as ISSUEs; and whether LAW in 088/0598 should be HC for both issues, or HARM and an empty variable.
Among the 139 Warren Court records that the recoder generated, that also appear in the database, two that should have contained a “1” in the REC variable inadvertently omitted it (001/1544 and 002/0340). This error is trivial insofar as 002/0340 is concerned because the ANALU variable contains an entry in the second record of this case. Of necessity, therefore, one record beyond the initial one must exist. Nonetheless, both these discrepancies are errors. Variable identity, therefore, equals 98.6 percent. As for the Burger Court, among the 214 records common to the database and to the recoding, 047/0483 should show a “1” in the second record, and 083/0343 should show a “2” in the second record. The latter difference should not be considered an error because the Lawyers’ Edition, from which the original coding was done, lists only two, not three, docket numbers. Variable identity, therefore, equals 99.5 percent.
The entry in this variable for all records of both Courts have been rechecked since the completion of the reliability check.
One of the two Warren Court differences is debatable because, though the case arose on appeal, the Court granted certiorari (020/1343). The other case had no entry in this variable; neither did it have an entry in variable 16 (reason stated for granting cert). Both these variables cannot be entryless unless the case is memorandum. The alert user would therefore have known there is an error here. Nonetheless, an error. Identity, therefore, equals 99.3 percent. By comparison, five Burger Court records produced an error, all of which omitted entry of an “A”. An observant user might have caught the first four because the reason for granting cert variable is also empty and these are not memorandum decisions. Identity, therefore, only equals 97.7 percent.
Four of the six differences between the coding and the recoding of the Warren Court are debatable: whether or not administrative action occurred in 004/0494 and 005/0403; whether action “occurred in the context of the case” as the foregoing coding instructions require in 015/0582; and whether state administrative action in 020/1089 was criminal, in which case no entry should appear. Hence, only two clear errors resulted, and identity between coding and recoding is 98.9 percent.
By comparison, 21 differences occurred in the Burger Court sample. Eight are debatable: 033/0154 arguably is a criminal matter and as such should have no entry; 048/0684, 071/0580, 078/0241, and the two records for both 054/0775 and 064/0278 as plausibly lack as possess administrative action. Four differences resulted from failure to clean the code for an agency: CFTR should have read CFTC in the four records of 092/0675. And in the two records of 036/0771 the entry, VA, was drawn from information not in the opinions. The other seven differences are errors. Two occurred in minimally important memorandum cases (see variable 33, type of decision). As a result, identity equals only 96.8 percent.
Although recoding showed complete accuracy in the Warren Court sample and only one error in the Burger Court, subsequent cleaning indicated that this variable had not been coded for certain portions of the database. Furthermore, through the first three terms of the Rehnquist Court, the modal category (no three-judge district court) exceeded 90 percent. Hence, all records were rechecked.
Two errors appear in the Warren Court sample. Both specified the correct jurisdiction but the wrong court therein. Accuracy, therefore, equals 98.6 percent. A single discrepancy and three errors appear in the Burger Court sample. In 043/0530, whether ORIGIN=NHTR or NH is unclear. The case was filed in a NHTR and then transferred to the NH. Whether NHTR took any action is unspecified. One of the three errors occurred because of lack of cleaning, while the other two are omitted entries in memorandum decisions. Identity, therefore, also equals 98.6 percent for the Burger Court.
Also note that the United States Reports do not identify the court of origin, either in whole or in part, in 43 of the sampled records. In some of these cases, the Lawyers’ Edition from which all cases were coded, provides this information. In the others, an assistant went to the records of the lower courts to ascertain the court in which the case originated. The recoder, however, was told to derive this information from the United States Reports exclusively. For purposes of the reliability check, I do not count as a discrepancy any record in which the recoding shows a “?” because the coding went behind the official Reports to locate the court of origin.
The Warren Court sample produced one typographical error for an identity of 99.3 percent. The Burger Court produced four, one of which was one of the two memorandum decisions that had an error in its ORIGIN variable. Identity, therefore, equals 98.1 percent.
Five of the 96 sampled Warren Court citations contained an error, one of which occurred because reference to a lower court dissent appeared only in the case summary, not the text of the majority opinion. The Burger Court sample also produced five errors. The low accuracy (94.8 and 97.1 percent, respectively) attained for this noninterpretive variable probably results because this information may appear anywhere in the introductory portions of the majority opinion. Moreover, it may only require a single word to describe: i.e., “divided”, “split”. On the basis of the relative lack of accuracy, all citations in both Courts were systematically rechecked.
Four of the six Warren Court discrepancies are errors. In the other two (LED=005/0403 and 006/0246), either a “12” may appear for both, or a “10” and a “1”, respectively. Nine of the 19 Burger Court discrepancies are errors. The other ten are debatable. In the two records of LED=040/0703, 045/0374, and 066/0762, the majority opinion does not unequivocally state that the specified entry is the reason cert was granted; hence, an “11” is acceptable. In four other cases, the majority opinion gives a different reason later after stating its original reason (LED=045/0012, 052/0136, 057/0957, 081/0134). In LED=086/0168, either a “9” or a “10” is acceptable; and in LED=053/0423, either an “11” or “10”.
Because of the relatively low accuracy — 97.2 and 95.8 percent for the respective Courts — all database records were rechecked for this variable.
Interagreement between the coding and recoding is substantially less than complete in the parties variables for several reasons. First, the descriptors are undefined. Second, the difference between a given descriptor and others to which it is cross-referenced is one of degree rather than kind. Third, majority opinions not infrequently dually characterize parties. Nonetheless, the decision rule limits coding to singular characterization of parties. Finally, the Reports will commonly label a governmental party by his or her name and office, and thereafter substitute the name of the government for that of the official. One or more of these conditions apply to all but one of the Warren Court’s nine PARTY_1 and seven PARTY_2 discrepancies. The only exceptions were the entry of the less accurate CC rather than POOR D in 009/0811, and the clearly erroneous US in place of LA as the respondent in 010/0663. Accuracy may therefore be specified as 99.3 percent for both Warren Court parties. Although the Burger Court sample generated several times as many discrepancies as the Warren Court, the same factors account for them. Of the 29 differences in petitioning party,
Counting only the last four as lacking identity, interagreement equals 98.1 percent. The 37 PARTY_2 differences produce a similar result: seven cross-referenced, 18 dually characterized, and six government / governmental official distinctions. Errors occurred in 034/0296 (DC, not US), the two records of 036/0771 (VA BD ED, not the typographical error: VA DB ED), 046/0030 (US, not CA), 071/0859 (US S CT, not merely S CT), and 077/1407 (PP, not ?). Interagreement thus reaches 97.2 percent.
The 21 Warren Court discrepancies locate in only ten separate citations. Eight discrepancies in three citations are equally accurate: between “10” and “4” in 002/0292, between “2” and “5” in 015/0284, and between “1” and “8” in 016/0314. In the four records of 020/0672, the majority opinion says “2”, while a footnote says “4”. The nine other differences may be counted as errors: the two records of 003/0450 and 023/0332 in which oversights left the variable empty; the “4” and “7” in the two records of 003/1312; the “2” and “3” in 009/0279; the “4” and “7” in 012/0129; and the error resulting from the lack of cleaning that occurred in the two records in 009/0561: the original version of the codebook specified entering the lower court’s decision even if it were the trial court, which was the situation in this case. Agreement, therefore, equals 93.6 percent.
In the Burger Court sample, half the 28 discrepancies are debatable: 025/0246 can be either “8” or “10”. 026/0764 mentions “1” and “8” at different places in the majority opinion; so also does 031/0110 (“1” and “8”), the two records of 042/0465 (“2” and “3”), 052/0136 (“2” and “5”), the two records of 080/0622 (“2” and “3”), and 090/0428 (“1” and “5”). The two records of 031/0551 lack clarity between “1” and “8”, as does 043/0530 between 0 and “1”, 060/0698 between “11” and “10”, and 077/0938 between 0 and “1”.
The other 14 discrepancies are (“11” = DEC_TYPE=3): 032/0612 (“0” and “1”), 034/0296 “11” (“0” and “2”), 036/0941 (“2” and “3”), 045/0109 (“0” and “1”), 045/0684 “11” (blank and “1”), 048/0626 (“2” and “10”), the two records in 058/0007 (blank and “8” because of a coding change), 063/0325 “11” (blank and “2”), 065/0597 (“1” and “2”), 066/0234 “11” (“0” and “1”), 070/0225 “11” (“0” and “2”), 074/0643 “11” (“0” and “8”), and 078/0241 “11” (“0” and “1”). Agreement, therefore, equals 93.5 percent.
The plethora of memorandum decisions in the discrepancies of the Burger Court likely results from the fact that these cases contain only concurring and/or dissenting opinions. Unlike a majority opinion, which places dispositional information in a standard section, such data may be found anywhere or nowhere in a separate opinion.
This variable was not subject to a reliability check because it was computer generated.
Two inconsistencies appeared in the Warren Court sample. The day was incorrect in one record and the whole date in the other. The latter was a non-orally argued decree in which the date of decision was mistakenly entered as the date of oral argument. In the Burger Court sample, three errors occurred: the month in one record and the day in two others. Identity equals 98.6 percent for both Courts. If digits are the focus, identity increases by a factor of six.
The reliability check showed 100 percent agreement.
The single error that occurred in the Warren Court sample was the same as the one in the ORAL variable (variable 18). The Burger Court produced one discrepancy in a memorandum decision. Cert was denied on one date and the dissenting opinion, the only reason the case is in the database, was filed a week later.
This variable was not subjected to a reliability check because it was computer created.
This variable was not subject to a reliability check because it was computer created.
This variable was not subject to a reliability check because it was computer generated.
Of the ten Warren Court discrepancies, four are non-orally argued DEC_TYPE=2 cases (see variable 28, type of decision) that have an abbreviated summary without numerical headings (- 002/0001, 004/0001, 012/1041, 019/0546). In each of these cases, the variable either had no entry or contained a statutory listing (002/0001, 004/0001, and 019/0546) or a constitutional provision (012/1041). Either alternative appears equally correct. In three DEC_TYPE=1 cases, the chosen alternatives also appear to be equally plausible: 6ACO vs. 14AD in 099/0135, and 62 vs. 5A=P in the two records of 016/0828. The other three discrepancies constitute error: 5AMI vs. 5ASI in 020/0381, 1A vs. 1ASN in 003/0462, and 1817 vs. 172 in 002/0282. The first of these could have been typographical. Identity, therefore, may be considered to be 97.9 percent.
By comparison, none of the eleven discrepancies in the Burger Court sample rises to the level of an error. In 028/0196 and 034/0651, the choice was between ABST and a blank. The summaries mention “abstention”, but not the abstention doctrine. 037/0993 requires reference to cited decisions to determine the proper entry. The choice in 040/0694 falls between LHWC and nothing. In 045/0109, SLA is mentioned in the opinion, but not the summary. The choice is between this entry or none. In 046/0030, CRMP appears only because of a reference to an opinion in chambers. Alternatively, the variable should contain no entry. In 058/0202, NLRA or a blank variable is equally plausible; while in 083/0998 and 084/0073, an equally acceptable choice may be made between TREATY or an empty variable. In the two records of 088/0598, HC HC versus blank HARM is equally plausible.
No differences in the coding of either Court occurred.
The reliability coding of AUTHDEC treated the variable as a single two-column variable, rather than two separate variables. The variable was divided after the reliability coding was performed in order to facilitate the use of this variable for SPSS analyses. In the Warren Court sample, 107 perfect matches occurred in the 139 records common to both sets (77.0 percent). Of the 32 discrepancies, 12 merely reversed a 2-digit sequence, and all but one of these involved “45”; the other one, “75”. If these 12 are considered to match, discrepancies reduce to 20 and agreement becomes 85.6 percent.
In 14 instances, one coder entered a single digit, while the other one entered two — one of which was the same as the single digit entered by the other coder. The total number of the codes that appeared uniquely is as follows: “5” six times, “3” four times, “4” three times, and “7” one time. If these be considered matches, agreement increases to 95.7 percent.
In six instances, there was no match at all, and all of these occurred in records in which both coders entered a single digit (citations are to LED): 010/1045, “3” vs. “7”; the three records of 020/1350, “3” vs. “7”; 099/0210, “3” vs. “4”; and 100/0953, “4” vs. “5”. In 099/0210 and 020/1350 either choice appears equally accurate. Hence, only two of these six nonmatches are clearly incompatible. Agreement, therefore, may be considered to be as high as 98.6 percent.
Note that no discrepancies involve the two constitutional codes: “1” and “2”.
In the Burger Court sample, 181 perfect matches occurred in the 214 records common to both samples (84.6 percent). Unlike the Warren Court, there were no two-digit reversals.
In 23 instances, one coder entered a single digit, while the other coder entered two — one of which was the same as the single digit entered by the other coder. The uniquely appearing digit was: “5” twelve times, “4” five times, “3” three times, “7” two times, and “1” one time. (One “4” and the single “1” arose in 085/0764, a case with dual legal provisions, in which one coder entered “14” twice, while the other entered a “1” in one record and a “4” in the other). If these 23 records be considered matches, agreement increases to 95.3 percent.
In the remaining ten records, a choice between “73” and “74” in 043/0214 is equally accurate. The differences in 037/0993, 058/0202, and 084/0073 result because one coder made a LAW entry in the legal provision at issue variable while the other — just as reasonably — failed to do so. In 057/0957 and 064/0559, a choice between “7” and “43” in the former and “7” versus “1” in the latter are equally good. The other four records arguably produce error: 046/0030, “4” vs. blank in a memorandum decision; the two records of 047/0483, “4” vs. “73”; and 048/0626, “43” vs. “5”. Agreement, therefore, may be considered to be as high as 98.1 percent.
Fifteen of the 24 discrepancies in the Warren Court sample are debatable in the sense that either choice is equally accurate. If these are counted as identical, agreement reaches 93.6 percent. If only separate citations are counted, 16 differences occur, of which eleven are debatable. From this perspective, agreement is 94.8 percent. The list of differences follows. An asterisk indicates that either option appears to be equally good (citations are to LED).
Twenty-one of the 36 differences in the Burger Court are also debatable in the sense that either choice is equally accurate. If these are considered identical, agreement reaches 93.1 percent. If only separate citations are counted, 27 differences occur, of which 14 are debatable, and agreement becomes 92.4 percent. If the four records whose issue could only be identified by going behind the summary and opinions of the cited case are also excluded, agreement reaches 94.9 percent. The list of differences follows. An asterisk indicates that either option appears to be equally good.
This variable was not subject to a reliability check because it was computer generated.
The reliability check showed two errors in the Warren Court (agreement = 98.6 percent) and one error in the Burger Court (agreement = 99.5 percent). Failure to enter a “0” in a case in which the issue = 0 (098/0423). This is a trivial error because if ISSUE=0, directionality perforce equals 0. In 100/0692, the variable was left blank when it should have contained a “1”. In 063/0325, which is a memorandum decision, DIR=2, not 1.
The reliability check produced no differences in either Court’s sample.
Complete agreement prevailed between all Burger Court records and all but one of those from the Warren Court. The error resulted because of failure to enter this datum in LED=006–/0246.
This variable was not subject to reliability coding because the recoder would have had to check numerous cases other than those that were randomly selected.
The four coding differences in the Warren Court sample occurred between “3” and “5” in 002/1097, and between “3” and “4” in 015/0026, 022/0535, and 023/0332. The substantive difference between these choices ranges from trivial to nonexistent. Nonetheless, they are errors, and agreement equals only 97.2 percent. The Burger Court sample had only two discrepancies, both of which are errors. In 048/0775, a non-code entry appeared (an asterisk) to indicate "objections overruled." A typographical error occurred in 071/0234 (“1” versus “2”), which is evidenced by a common entry in the second record of this case. Agreement equals 98.6 percent.
Inasmuch as the entry in the disposition variable controls the entry here, coding discrepancies become trivial when both coders entered the same datum in the DIS variable. This happened in the seven Warren Court records in which only one coder entered an asterisk in DISQ and in one of the two such Burger Court records. The disposition in the other Burger Court case — reversed in part — produced different dispositions: “2” versus “5”. Hence, an error.
Two of the three errors in the Warren Court sample appear to have been an oversight because of the brevity of the per curiam decisions: 002/0355 and 002/1367. The other case is 003/1058. Identity, therefore, equals 97.9 percent.
Only one of the two Burger Court differences amounts to an error, albeit a careless one. Inasmuch as DIS=2 in 048/0039, the probability is high that WIN must contain a “1”. In the other case, 025/0246, the Court’s disposition was “denied and remanded.” Hence, one may debate the propriety of a “1” in the WIN variable.
No differences emerged in the coding of either Court.
No coding differences occurred in either Court’s sample.
The reliability check showed four Warren Court discrepancies. Two occurred in memorandum decisions and resulted because these decisions do not always make clear the difference between “2” and “7” votes. (017/0078, 80 vs. 81; and 018/0458, 60 vs. 63). The discrepancy in 013/0527, 63 vs. 72, is not an error because variable 36 (vote not clearly specified) contains an entry in both data sets. An error, however, clearly occurred in 011/0757, 90 vs. 53. This case is a very lengthy decree. Decrees are almost always unanimous. I failed to notice the short dissent and the specification of non-participation at the end of the decree. Agreement, therefore, reaches 99.3 percent.
The following discrepancies occurred in the Burger Court sample. 024/0470 (70 vs. 71) is somewhat debatable. 046/0030 (81 vs. 72) is sloppy; the votes of the justices show two “2”’s indicating dissents. 047/0154 (62 vs. 53) is not an error because the case is double listed as a split vote — i.e., ANALU=4. 057/0957 (90 vs. 72) and 066/0762 (61 vs. 52) are also not errors because variable 36 (vote not clearly specified) contains an appropriate entry. 058/0674 (81 vs. 72) is a careless error even though the case is a memorandum decision.
Therefore, two, or arguably, three errors, with agreement at either 99.1 or 98.6 percent.
The two Warren Court discrepancies are merely that. The vote in both cases is the same, 90. The reason one coder made an entry in this variable was due to his inability to distinguish a regular from a special concurrence. In the Burger Court, the two discrepancies concerned 057/0957 and 066/0762 in both of which the justices in question were “concurring and dissenting in part.” Hence, no errors.
These variables, whose numbers change as the composition of the court changes, contiain the individual justices’ opinions, and interagreements with other justices The 28 total discrepancies that the Warren Court reliability check produced may be apportioned as follows:
If only a) and e) are counted as errors, n=8, out of a total of 1337 entries. Agreement, therefore, equals 99.4 percent. If errors are broken down by type of entry, they are as follows:
Two interagreements are wrong (a) out of a total of 108 interagreements: 98.1 percent identical.
Four opinions are wrong (“31” vs. “1”, “1” vs. “41”, “22” vs. “1”, “22” vs. “1”) [under e)] out of a total of 289 opinions: 98.6 percent agreement.
Fifteen votes are different (thirteen “3” vs. “4”, one “2” vs. “1”, and one “5” vs. “1”) [under d) and e)] out of a total of 1229 votes: 98.8 percent agreement.
The 38 total discrepancies that appeared in the Burger Court reliability check divide as follows:
The two records of 031/0551 contain a debatable “1” vs. “4”. 047/0154 is “21” vs. “41”, but is no error because variable 3 (unit of analysis) identifies the case as split vote (i.e., ANALU=4). The two records in 064/0278 show Stevens with a blank rather than a “1”.
If only the five incorrect entries in a), the eleven in c), the one in d), and the five in e) are counted as errors, n=22, out of a total of 2464 entries. Agreement, therefore, equals 99.1 percent.
If errors are broken down by type of entry, they are as follows:
Five interagreements are wrong out of a total of 226: 97.8 percent agreement.
Four opinions (“21”-“81”, “21”-“2”, “1”-“22”, “21”-“22”) out of a total of 386: 99.0 percent agreement.
Thirteen votes (eight “7” vs. “8”, two “3” vs. “4”, one “2” vs. “8”, two blank vs. “1”) out of a total of 1852: 99.3 percent agreement.
VARIABLES containing the direction of the justices’ votes
This variable was not subject to a reliability check because it was computer generated.
VARIABLES containing the individual justice in majority or dissent
This variable was computer generated; hence no reliability check.
This variable was not subject to a reliability check because it was computer generated.
This variable was not subject to a reliability check because it was computer generated.
This variable was not subject to a reliability check because it was computer generated.