Orin Kerr Profile picture
Aug 27, 2018 5 tweets 2 min read
There has been a lot of attention in the law prof world recently to citation rankings, mostly b/c of @BrianLeiter's posting the latest Sisk numbers. I have two very small thoughts about what these numbers mean/don't mean. /1
1st, I think of citation rankings as mostly useful to learn of people in your field whose work may be worth checking out. It's not a ranking of quality, but just of mentions. Esp if you're new to the field, can help at the margins to see what ideas are being discussed. /2
2nd, it would be interesting, and maybe helpful, if the Sisk #s came with an additional # of how many of the scholar's papers are in the database. On the whole, more papers = more papers to cite = more citations. Depending on what you see rankings as for, citations/paper # /3
may be more important than overall citations. But you can't see that in the Sisk #s. Finally, like a lot of people, I'm troubled by the gender/race patterns in citations. I'm not sure of the set of reasons for it. I wonder, though, if there are now enough Sisk rankings /4
to see if/how those trends are changing over time. Not sure if anyone has done a comparison of 2018 to earlier rankings on that score, but it would be useful if someone has. (Oops, said I would make 2 small points, made 3. sorry.) /5

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More from @OrinKerr

Oct 6, 2018
With Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation likely tomorrow, here a few thoughts on what this might mean for the next 5-10 years of Supreme Court action. (Thread.)
Most obviously, this will unleash a lot of test cases. Kavanaugh's confirmation will mean that, for the first time in most of our lifetimes, there is a clear majority of conservative Justices. No mushy middles of Powell, O'Connor, Kennedy, but rather five solid conservatives.
Expect a lot of people with conservative causes to push their cases to SCOTUS to see what the new Court will do. These ideological windows may stay open only for a few years; think 1962-68, when there was a strong liberal majority and a whole lot happened..
Read 9 tweets
Oct 4, 2018
BIG NEWS: For two years, from 2015 to 2017, I served on a Judicial Conference committee to review the operation of the Criminal Justice Act. Today, our 341-pg report recommending reforms --aka the Cardone Report-- has finally been made public. It's here: cjastudy.fd.org/sites/default/…
We agreed re most of our recommendations, incl. establishing a federal defender commission to administer & oversee the defense function. But I disagreed w/my colleagues on how to structure the commission. My separate statement, App. M, is here: papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf… It opens:
Tagging a few who may (or may not) have particular interest in the report: @CBHessick @RachelBarkow @barryfriedman1 @brandonlgarrett @SLandP
Read 6 tweets
Oct 1, 2018
Gundy v. US, on the constitutional limits of the role of the executive in criminal law, is a really fascinating case. Briefs here, and intro to reply brief below. scotusblog.com/case-files/cas…
I should say that I find the whole category of crimes that punish violating regulations to be a constitutional oddity. A longstanding oddity, see US v. Grimaud, 220 U.S. 506 (1911), but an oddity nonetheless.
Incidentally, there's an interesting paper to be written on the limits of legislatures in defining crimes based on the laws of other government bodies. For example, with regulatory crimes, the legislatures makes the crim line what the regulatory body says was criminal.
Read 9 tweets
Sep 29, 2018
I promised @ag_conservative that I would explain why I think an FBI investigation is a good idea that is our best chance of getting at the truth -- and therefore why I disagree with him. Here's a thread.
To narrow this a bit, I'm going to address this to those on the right who agree with @AG_Conservative that an investigation can't be helpful. This a fast-moving story and I don't claim to have special insights, but here's why, from my perspective, that seems wrong.
Yesterday two witnesses gave dramatically different testimony. There is a basis on which to find each witness credible. As Trump said, Dr. Ford was a "very credible witness" who gave "compelling" testimony. And J. Kavanaugh is one of our most distinguished and respected judges.
Read 13 tweets
Sep 23, 2018
If there's a competition for the shortest SCOTUS opinion striking down a law as unconstitutional, I would think Levy v. Louisiana, 391 US 68 (1968) (Douglas, J.), is in the running. Total opinion length in US Reports: about 3.5 pages. Analysis: <2 pages. cdn.loc.gov/service/ll/usr…
This footnote is part of the analysis section, BTW.
For context, here is former Douglas law clerk Stephen Duke describing how Justice Douglas wrote his opinions.
Read 4 tweets
Sep 6, 2018
Second judge on Trump's SCOTUS list in just the last two weeks to say the Supreme Court is misguided in how it interprets the 4A: Last week it was Willett on QI, this week it is Thapar on what is a search. opn.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/1…
Oh, and I should add that I don't find Thapar's attempt to arrive at an originalist definiton of search persuasive. As I've noted elsewhere, the historical materials don't answer this question, too often, each person picks the test they want and labels it originalist.
I don't think this right, either. From a textualist perspective, Miller and Greenwood are about the word "their" in the 4th Am: *whose* "papers and effects" are the bank records given to bank and trash left at curb. They're not about whether a search was "reasonable."
Read 5 tweets

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