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Visualizing the First Amendment
Debbie Rabina & Chris Sula
Pratt SILS, ASIST Speakeasy series
April 8, 2013
• “Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting an
Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free
Exercise Thereof; or Abridg...
First Amendment scholarship
• One of the most studied area of constitutional
law
• Legal studies are traditionally based o...
Our project
• Applies empirical methods and visualization
techniques to gain new insights of trends and
patterns regarding...
Questions
• Once done, we will be able to answer
question like:
– Which of the 1st Amd. rights were addressed in a
particu...
Patterns
• With the hope of being able to reveal patterns
such as:
• Do judges vote along party lines
• Do Justices change...
Phases
•
•
•
•

Collecting and analyzing data
conducting analysis
presenting results in a visual graphic interface
publish...
Data collection
• Case law from the First Amendment Center
timeline
• Identify variables:
– Right asserted/denied
– Votes ...
Data sources
• First Amendment Center timeline
– 103 cases with narrative descriptions

• Supreme Court Database
– maintai...
Data sources coverage
First Amendment Center
Timeline
Supreme Court
Database

Supreme Court Citation Network Data

1754

1...
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Visualizing the First Amendment

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Visualizing the First Amendment

  1. 1. Visualizing the First Amendment Debbie Rabina & Chris Sula Pratt SILS, ASIST Speakeasy series April 8, 2013
  2. 2. • “Congress Shall Make No Law Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof; or Abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press; or the Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble, and To Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.”
  3. 3. First Amendment scholarship • One of the most studied area of constitutional law • Legal studies are traditionally based on detailed qualitative analysis of legislation and case law
  4. 4. Our project • Applies empirical methods and visualization techniques to gain new insights of trends and patterns regarding 1st Amd. ruling by the Supreme Court • Project goals – Provide a visual history of the First Amendment – Assess the impact of these events on the freedoms protected by the First Amendment.
  5. 5. Questions • Once done, we will be able to answer question like: – Which of the 1st Amd. rights were addressed in a particular case – How did a particular Justice vote – What was the ‘test” (justification) for the ruling
  6. 6. Patterns • With the hope of being able to reveal patterns such as: • Do judges vote along party lines • Do Justices change their views over time
  7. 7. Phases • • • • Collecting and analyzing data conducting analysis presenting results in a visual graphic interface publishing research study
  8. 8. Data collection • Case law from the First Amendment Center timeline • Identify variables: – Right asserted/denied – Votes by court – Writer of majority/minority opinions – Chief Justice/nominating president – Legal provision – Number of subsequent citation the case received
  9. 9. Data sources • First Amendment Center timeline – 103 cases with narrative descriptions • Supreme Court Database – maintained by Washington University, St. Louis – 8,407 cases coded with nearly 40 variables – 655 classified as First Amendment cases • Supreme Court Citation Network Data – James H. Fowler (UCSD) and Sangick Jeon (Stanford) – 202,167 citations to/from majority opinions
  10. 10. Data sources coverage First Amendment Center Timeline Supreme Court Database Supreme Court Citation Network Data 1754 1800 1900 1946 2000

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