Nov. 17, 2014 - “Aaron-Andrew Bruhl has done it again.” That’s how a fellow professor begins a laudatory review of the University of Houston Law Center professor’s latest article on how the U.S. Supreme Court is affected by lower court decisions.
While Bruhl crunches empirical data, the reviewer notes, he goes well beyond to look at various other factors that weigh on high court decisions. Bruhl’s article, “Following Lower-Court Precedent,” was published in the University of Chicago Law Review last month.
“Beginning with a simple question—what can one say about the Supreme Court’s on-again/off-again relationship with lower court precedent—Bruhl finds a surprisingly rich collection of answers that illuminate much about the institutional federal judiciary,” James E. Pfander, Owen L. Coon Professor of Law at Northwestern University Law School, writes in Jotwell, an on-line peer review site of recent scholarship sponsored by the University of Miami School of Law.
Bruhl’s article analyzes and evaluates a variety of potential reasons for the Supreme Court to give weight to lower court precedent, including factors related to stability, constraint, and the wisdom of crowds. The article also examines the current justices’ voting behavior and reasoning in cases in which the court resolves splits in the lower courts.
Jotwell -- the “Journal of Things We Like (Lots)” – is, according to its mission statement, designed to “creat[e] a space where legal academics can go to identify, celebrate, and discuss the best new scholarship relevant to the law.”
At least three other current UHLC professors have been reviewed by Jotwell in its five-year history: Lonny Hoffman, courtslaw.jotwell.com/celebrating-federal-civil-rulemaking/, Jessica Roberts, health.jotwell.com/healthism-health-care-rights-and-the-affordable-care-act/, and Joe Sanders, torts.jotwell.com/a-preference-for-strict-liability/. David Fagundes, a visiting professor from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, also has published reviews, jotwell.com/?s=Fagundes.