Posted by: Ray Brescia | November 14, 2012

Using Empirical Tools to Gauge the Impact of Supreme Court Precedents on Civil Rights Cases

I was honored to submit a guest post on the widely read SCOTUS Blog.  In that post, I described a research project through which I used empirical tools to assess the impact of recent Supreme Court precedents on certain types of civil rights cases.   These precedents changed the standard by which courts assess the allegations in pleadings, arguably making it more difficult to file cases in federal court.  My study looked at the impact of this new pleading standard on employment and housing discrimination cases to determine if courts were dismissing cases using this new pleading standard at a higher rate than before that standard was articulated.  The study also looked at whether defendants are using this standard to file more motions to dismiss based upon it and whether, since the Court articulated the new standard, more cases are being dismissed on grounds related to it.  My hope is that empirical analysis of the impact of these precedents on important federal rights will help to inform any assessment of these precedents on case outcomes and practice in federal court.

The SCOTUS blog post is available here.

The study upon which it is based is available here.

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