Nonlegal Citations and the Failure of Law: A Case Study of the Supreme Court 2010-2011 Term

29 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2014 Last revised: 29 Mar 2014

See all articles by Bezalel Stern

Bezalel Stern

Columbia University - Law School

Date Written: February 2014

Abstract

Nonlegal citations both exist and proliferate within contemporary judicial opinions. This realization could — indeed, it should — lead the reader to ask a fundamental question: What are these nonlegal citations doing in a judicial opinion?

This article aims to answer that question. I present in this article an empirical view of the Supreme Court’s relationship to nonlegal citations in its jurisprudence, using the Supreme Court’s October 2010 Term as a case study. By analyzing the number and usage of nonlegal citations from this Term, as well as the information collected by earlier scholars studying similar material, I provide the beginnings of an explanation of what exactly nonlegal sources are used for in Supreme Court opinions, both rhetorically and legally. In doing so, I hope to help clarify why nonlegal citations exist in Supreme Court opinions at all.

Keywords: Supreme Court, Nonlegal citations, Law and Humanities, Legal Writing, Legal Rhetoric

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Stern, Bezalel A, Nonlegal Citations and the Failure of Law: A Case Study of the Supreme Court 2010-2011 Term (February 2014). Whittier Law Review, Vol. 35, No. 1 (2014), Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 14-383 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2398997

Bezalel A Stern (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

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