The Transmission of Legal Precedent among State Supreme Courts in the Twenty-First Century

Rachael K. Hinkle, Michael J. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theories of legislative policy diffusion are well formed and extensively tested, but scholars know far less about the diffusion of legal policy and reasoning. Three decades ago, Caldeira’s “The Transmission of Legal Precedent: A Study of State Supreme Courts” examined this topic, but the intervening decades have been marked by considerable changes in both technology and the institutional structure of state supreme courts. We explore the effect of these changes by explaining modern translegal judicial communication in the United States. Relying on an original dataset encompassing every citation in every legal decision made by all 52 state supreme courts in 2010, we explore the effect of the proximity of two states and the prestige of the cited court on how frequently state high courts use one another’s precedents. We find evidence that both proximity and prestige increase cross-state citations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-410
Number of pages20
JournalState Politics and Policy Quarterly
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations

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