It's not everyday that I receive an article reprint from a federal judge. Today I received in the mail an article entitled "Pitfalls of Empirical Studies that Attempt to Understand the Factors Affecting Appellate Decisionmaking," 58 Duke L.J. 1895 (2009), by the Honorable Harry T. Edwards of the D.C. Circuit and Michael A. Livermore. (I haven't found an online link yet.)
Given the provocative cover letter, I'd encourage readers to check it out. The cover letter reads:
"Our bottom line is simple: the decisions of federal appellate judges are not highly politicized and there is no body of empirical evidence to support any claim to the contrary."