The latest issue of the Law & Society Review (Vol. 40, No. 1) has some interesting articles:
Do Rankings Matter? The Effects of U.S. News & World Report Rankings on the Admissions Process of Law Schools by Michael Sauder & Ryon Lancaster
- "Using data for U.S. law schools from 1996 to 2003, we find that schools' rankings have significant effects on both the decisions of prospective students and the decisions schools make in the admissions process. In addition, we present evidence that the rankings can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for some schools, as the effects of rank described above alter the profile of their student bodies, affecting their future rank. Cumulatively, these findings suggest that the rankings help create rather than simply reflect differences among law schools through the magnification of the small, and statistically random, distinctions produced by the measurement apparatus."
The Influence of Jurisprudential Considerations on Supreme Court Decisionmaking: A Study of Conflict Cases by Stefanie A. Lindquist & David E. Klein
- "Our analyses reveal that the justices are (1) more likely to follow the reasoning process adopted by the majority of circuits involved in the conflict, (2) less likely to adopt the conflict position marred by contrary dissents and concurrences in the circuit court opinions, and (3) more likely to adopt the conflict position endorsed by prestigious circuit court judges. Our findings suggest that jurisprudential considerations, as well as attitudinal concerns, affect the justices' decisionmaking processes in a substantial minority of cases."
Understanding Judicial Hierarchy: Reversals and the Behavior of Intermediate Appellate Judges by Kevin M. Scott
- "One of the central controversies in the judicial behavior literature is the extent to which judges' ability to act according to their ideological preferences is affected by their location in the judicial hierarchy. Judges on intermediate appellate courts have different decisionmaking environments than high court judges. As a result, the goals of lower appellate court judges may differ from those of their superiors: the quest for legal accuracy may compete with the desire to pursue policy preferences."