Sunday, December 24, 2006

Database on Attributes of Federal Lower Court Judges since 1789, Now On-Line

For those interested in quantitative historical research: Kirk A. Randazzo, Univ. of Kentucky, Director of the S. Sidney Ulmer Project for Research in Law and Judicial Politics, just announced on the Law & Courts Listerv a major expansion of an important database on the federal courts, accessible on a website maintained at the University of Kentucky. The database has information about attributes of U.S. lower federal court judges. Also on the site are links to data on the United States Supreme Court, including voting data, and data on State Supreme Courts. For more information, click here.

The description of the database for Lower Federal Court Judges begins:
This project, originally compiled by Gary Zuk, Deborah J. Barrow, and Gerard S. Gryski, was undertaken to compile a definitive database on the personal, social, economic, career and political attributes of judges who served on the United States Courts of Appeals from 1801 to 1994. Recent additions by Gerard Gryski and Gary Zuk have expanded the data: The Appeals Court Attribute dataset contains information on judges who served from 1801-2000 (and partial information on judges through 2004); and, the District Court Attribute dataset contains information on judges who served from 1789-2000 (and partial information on judges through 2004).
The databases include conventional social background variables such as appointing president, religion, political party affiliation, education and prior experience. In addition, unique items are provided such as the temporal sequence of prior career experiences, the timing of and reason for leaving the bench, gender, race and ethnicity, position numbering analogous to the scheme used for the Supreme Court, American Bar Association rating, and net worth. The second objective of this project was to merge these data with the Appeals Court Database, compiled by Donald R. Songer, and therefore includes a unique identification number for each judge. The combined databases should enable scholars to explore 1) intra- and inter-circuit fluctuation in the distribution of social background characteristics, 2) generational and presidential cohort variation in these attributes and, 3) state and partisan control of seats.

For more, click here.