Phase II Courts of Appeals Database

Shepardizing the Courts of Appeals Database

Compiled by Rorie Spill Solberg at Oregon State University. The purpose of this small addition to the Courts of Appeals dataset is to provide a bridge between these data and the Supreme Court database.  The Courts of Appeals database has some information on the decision by the lower court or agency.  The Supreme Court database contains information on the ideological direction of the lower court decision.  However, there was, up till now, no easy way to connect the information from the two databases.  More importantly, from the Supreme Court database we had information on cases from the Courts of Appeals that were accepted, but we lacked hard data on the rate of appeal.  This database also remedies the lacunae.  The Shepardized Courts of Appeals database includes subsequent appellate information on all cases included in the original Courts of Appeals database, including petitions for rehearing en banc and petitions for certiorari, regardless of outcome. If a case received a grant of certiorari, the citation variables used by Spaeth et al in the United States Supreme Court database is included for easy merging of the three databases (COA, Shepardized, SCOTUS).

Last Update: November 19, 2010

Original U.S. Courts of Appeals Databases 1925 - 1996

Last Update: October 21, 2008

Update to the Appeals Courts Database 1997 - 2002

U.S. Courts of Appeals Databases

The Appeals Courts Database Project was designed to create an extensive dataset to facilitate the empirical analysis of the votes of judges and the decisions of the U.S. Courts of Appeals. In order to increase its utility for a wide variety of potential users, data on a broad range of variables of theoretical significance to public law scholars were coded. A major concern of the Board of Overseers appointed to advise Donald R. Songer (PI) was to insure the collection of data over a sufficiently long period of time to encourage significant longitudinal studies of trends over time in the courts. The paucity of such studies in the past was identified as one of the major weakness of recent scholarship. Thus, the database was designed to code a random sample of cases since 1925. This year marks the beginning of an increased policy role for the courts of appeals brought about by the increase in discretionary power of the Supreme Court over its docket and also marks the beginning of the second series of the Federal Reporter. Datasets are available in several formats. Note, all files have been zipped to reduce download time. If you do not have a program (such as WinZip or PKZip) please click here to download free software. Additionally, some Mac users may require the program Stuff-It Expander to open the datasets. If you do not have this program, please click here. Finally, all documentation is provided in Adobe pdf format. To get a free version of Adobe Acrobat please click here.

To learn more about using the Appeals Courts datasets, please refer to the article, "Changes in the Circuits: Exploring the Courts of Appeals Databases and the Federal Appellate Courts," by Mark S. Hurwitz and Ashlyn Kuersten from Western Michigan University.

Thanks to the efforts of Ashlyn K. Kuersten of Western Michigan University and Susan B. Haire of the University of Georgia, additional Appeals Courts cases form 1997-2002 are included here.

Last Update: July 13, 2011

  • STATA file (formatted as a .dta file)
  • SPSS file (formatted as a SPSS portable file)
  • SAS file (formatted as a SAS transport file)
  • Documentation (in pdf format)
  • Information on weighting cases (in pdf format)
  • Updated Appeals Court Judgelist (an EXCEL file with recent judge code information. Please note that these codes are not necessarily compatible with the judge codes from the Giles, Hettinger, and Peppers ideology scores.)
  • Updated Judge List ( a WORD file with recent judge code information. Please note that these codes are not necessarily compatible with the judge codes from the Giles, Hettinger, and Peppers ideology scores.)

Compiled by Donald R. Songer at the University of South Carolina, this dataset includes all appeals court cases that were subsequently reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court (and therefore coded into the Spaeth Supreme Court dataset). Consequently, this database provides the 'bridge' cases between the original Songer Appeals Court database and the Spaeth Supreme Court (allcourt) dataset. For information on specific variables/coding please refer to the Courts of Appeals documentation listed above.

Last update: October 21, 2008