ssrn-id742065 - UNIVERSITY of HOUSTON Public Law and Legal...

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UNIVERSITY of HOUSTON Public Law and Legal Theory Series 2005-W-01 The Network Structure of Supreme Court Jurisprudence Seth J. Chandler T HE U NIVERSITY OF H OUSTON L AW C ENTER This paper can be downloaded without charge at: The University of Houston Working Paper Series The Social Science Research Network Electronic Paper Collection http://ssrn.com/abstract=742065
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International Mathematica Symposium 2005 The Network Structure of Supreme Court Jurisprudence Seth J. Chandler This paper begins a program of research examining the network structure of precedent-based judicial decision making, using the United States Supreme Court as an initial example. It develops the set of Mathematica tools that facilitate studies of large networks, including vehicles for Mathematica to communicate with external network analysis software. à Introduction In common law jurisdictions such as the United States, courts frequently resolve disputes by citation and analysis of reports of prior legal cases. The law may thus be thought of as a giant network containing textual information embedded in cases (nodes) and relationship information called citations (arcs) going from node to node. In recent years, the science of studying networks has developed and, while there have been some primitive attempts to look at subsets of the vast legal network, until recently there has been little done to take advantage of modern technology and modern network theory in that effort. This article begins to borrow techniques developed largely in sociology and physics and uses modern technology to learn about the law simply by a study of its network structure. The paper makes extensive use of JUNG — the Java Universal Network/Graph Framework — via J/Link technology and facilitates communication of Mathematica graph structures to other network analysis programs such as Pajek by developing methods of import and export using GraphML. Although this paper focuses on tool building, it is my hope that these efforts, along with a pending publication likewise on legal networks by Professor Thomas A. Smith of the University of San Diego Law School, will catalyze a set of studies in this field that will expand to cover other judicial systems and yet more sophisticated analysis of network information. à The Database Construction of the data used for this project is a significant undertaking. And because similar challenges are likely to confront others working in this field, some researchers involved in either legal networks (or the XML and regular expressions technology used in their creation) may find the following account useful. Those with a predominant focus on legal issues may wish to skip, however, to the next section. Network Structure of Supreme Court Decisions.nb6/10/05 The Mathematica Journal volume :issue © year Wolfram Media, Inc.
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á Description of the Database The raw data employed for this paper is a set of files created in preparation of a commercial product known as USSC+ (http://www.usscplus.com/) and used for academic purposes here under a license generously granted by its owner . The 27,000 or
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ssrn-id742065 - UNIVERSITY of HOUSTON Public Law and Legal...

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