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
Date Written: February 2014
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: Suggested Citation