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Persistence of the Confederate Narrative Atlas

Unrepresented Predicate Offenses - Bryant (2016) -> Burgett (1967)

Article III Standing - Spokeo (2016) to Lujan (1992)

Mistaken Retaliation: Heffernan (2016) -> Letter Carriers (1973)

Anti-abortion Speech Doctrine? McCullen (2014) -> Madsen (1994)

Please see this blog post for an analyis of the cases in this map.

Equal Access to Justice: Bearden (1983) -> Griffin (1956)

One Person, One Vote: Evenwel (2016) to Wesberry (1964)

This network features the major "one person, one vote" cases cited by Evenwel. To see all the cases in the network, click on "view original" and change "Degrees of Separation" to 3.

Featured - March 28, 2016: Indian Law and Reservation Boundaries - Parker (2016) to Seymour (1962)

Featured - March 21, 2016: 8th Amendment Limits on Sentencing - Miller (2012) to Enmund (1982)

This network contains the key cases stemming from Miller v. Alabama. Justice Kagan’s majority opinion in Miller deliberately brought together “two strands of precedent reflecting our concern with proportionate punishment.” The first strand concerns categorical bans on sentencing practices based on mismatches between the culpability of a class of offenders and the severity of the punishment. The second strand concerns mandatory application of the death penalty and the importance of “individualized sentencing for defendants facing the most serious penalties.” The two strands came together in Miller to “lead to the conclusion that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles violate the Eighth Amendment.”

Tacking Trademarks: Hana Financial (2015) to TSC Industries (1976)

Note: Only unanimous cases (0 degree of dissent). Click view original for network description.

Juror Exclusion -- Wheeler (2015) to Witherspoon (1968)

Mistake - Heien v. North Carolina (2014)

Featured - February 18, 2016: A Map to Remember Justice Scalia

Mistake - Heien v. North Carolina (2014)

Map of the Week - 11/16/15 - Collateral Order Exception to Final Judgment Rule

This week's map shows the incredible degree of consensus in the Supreme Court's doctrine regarding the "collateral order" exception to the final judgment rule. For more on the map, see this blog post.

Map of the Week - 11/9/15 - Deadly Force and Mullenix v. Luna

This week's map concerns the history behind the Court's latest deadly force pronoucement in Mullenix v. Luna. For more on this map, see this blog post. As an added bonus, check out this blog post to see a map of the complete citation network at issue in Mullenix.

Map of the Week - 11/2/15 - Standing in Spokeo

This week's map shows a network of the Court's key standing cases at issue in this terms Spokeo v. Robins case. For more on this map, see this blog post.

Map of the Week - 10/27/15 - Eighth Amendment and Glossip

This week's map looks at the 2-degree network connecting Glossip v. Gross (2015) and Francis v. Resweber (1947). These are Eighth Amendment cases, often involving challenges to methods of execution. For more on this network (with additional looks at same network), see this blog post

Map of the Week - 10/19/15 - Watershed Rules

This week's map provides looks at the Court's decisions rejecting retroactivity for new consitutional rules in criminal cases. Click on the map to open full-sized version with links to underlying opinion. For an identical map with links to Supreme Court Database data, click here. For a discussion of this map, please see this blog entry.

Finally! A New Map of the Week - 10/12/15

After a too-long hiatus, map of the week has returned! 

This week's map is an experiment. It attempts visualize Justice Kennedy's argument advanced in Obergefell about Due Process and Equal Protection converging. Click on the image to open a full-sized version of the map with links to case information on the Supreme Court Database. For more on this experiment, see this blog entry.

Map of the Week: 4/13/15-4/19/15

This week's map charts out the doctrinal backing for an editorial in the New York Times published on 4/4/15. For a blog post explaining the map, click here.

Map of the Week: 4/6/15-4/12/15

This week features a map of the competing lines in the Court's flag desecration cases. Please note that the opinions in this map are all linked back to Casetext, a free site that allows users to annotate cases in a wiki-like fashion. For a blog post explaining this map, see here.

Map of the Week 3/28/15-4/3/15

This map shows the evolution of the Court's 8th Amendment jurisprudence in a series of challenges to long sentences. For a detailed description of this map and its implications for the fight against mass incarceration, please see this blog post.

Map of the Week 3/21/15-3/27/15

This map shows the main cases in the Court's modern "campaign financce" line and is based on Sullivan & Feldman First Amendment text (5th Ed. 2013) (pp. 499-549). This map uses a Spaeth projection.

Map of the Week 3/14/15-3/20/15

This map provides a glimpse at the lines of dissent that lead to the establishment of modern commercial speech doctrine in 1976's Virginia Pharmacy Board case. The map shows that the decision to grant commercial speech First Amendment protection was presaged by Justice Douglas' 1959 concurrence in Cammarano was then was given new life and impetus by the highly contentious Pittsburg Press Co. case.

Map of the Week: 3/7/15-3/13/15


This map shows the main cases in the Court's modern "commercial speech" line and is based on Sullivan & Feldman First Amendment text (5th Ed. 2013). This map uses a Spaeth projection. For a detailed discussion of the context for this map, see this blog post.

Map of the Week: 3/1/15-3/6/15

This map highlights the Court's speech and new media cases from 1970 to 2009. It represents all of the cases in Sullivan & Feldman First Amedment textbook (5th Ed. 2013) from pp. 169-190.

Map of the Week: 2/22/15-2/27/15

This is a basic look at the Court's obscenity cases -- especially as relates to child pornography. It is adopted from the Sullivan & Feldman First Amendment text

Map of the Week: 2/15/15 - 2/21/15

This map was generated for the students in Prof. Starger's Constitutional Law II class. It charts the cases regarding libel, privacy torts, and IIED in the Sullivan & Feldman First Amendment text (pp. 94-125 of 5th Ed). This map uses a Spaeth Projection. Please click on the map open a full-sized version of the map complete with links to the underlying case opinions.

Map of the Week: 2/9 - 2/16/15

This week's map is part of a project seeking doctrinal arguments against mass incarceration. The map above represents the 2-degree genealogical network linking Brown v. Plata (the Court's 2011 prison overcrowding case)  with Trop v. Dulles, a 1958 decision that contains an influential statement of the Eighth Amendment's committment to dignity. This map employs a Spaeth visualization.  

Map of the Week 1/26 - 2/8/2015

This week's map was inspired by Ryan Whelan's map of the law prof twitter network. This is a Very Large Doctrinal Map. For explanation and analysis, please see this blog post. Click on image to see full-sized version.

Map of the Week 1/19 - 1/25/2015

On Friday Jan 16, the Supreme Court announced it will hear four cases on same-sex marriage. The map and visual guide below represents the doctrinal basis supporting the Court's last same-sex marriage decision -- United States v. Windsor. These same lines of Substantive Due Process and Equal Protection cases will again be at issue this Term. For a downloadable version of this Visual Guide, please click here.

Map of the Week 1/12 -1/17/2015


This map is a hyperlinked interpretation of a classic First Amendment line from Schenck (1919) to Brandenburg (1969). Click on map for full interactive version. For further explanation, please see this In Progress post.



2014 Maps of the Week


This map represents the main competing lines in Confrontation Clause doctrine in the decade since Crawford v. Washington was decided. For a deatiled explanation of this map, please see this blog post.



On December 1, 2014, the Court heard argument in Elonis v. United States. The specific doctrinal question in Elonis is whether the "true threats" exception to the First Amendment requires a jury to find the defendant subjectively intended his statements to be intended as threats. This map looks at the doctrine implicated by this question. For explanation, see this blog post.



The "Map of the Week" this time again comes from "In Progress." I am examining Confrontation Clause doctrine. This map shows all the major rulings since Crawford v. Washington. For explanation, see here. Click here or on the map to see a full-sized version of the map with links to underlying opinions.



On 11/10/14, the Court handed down Johnson v. City of Shelby, a per curiam pleadings decision. I created the map above by fitting it into a schema that I had previously developed in colloboration with Prof. Scott Dodson. For a detailed explanation of the original schema, please see this video. For my analysis on the meaning of this map, check out this entry over the the Project's "In Progress Blog."



This week, the Map of the Week comes via the SCOTUS Mapping Project's new blog -- In Progress. The map above was created in three stages. Stage one involved coding pre-1946 cases according to the Spaeth regime. Stage two identified the authors of the majority opinions. Finally, stage three converted the Spaeth visualization into a standard vote view above (see Introduction to SCOTUS Mapper 1.0 for explanation of the standard vote view).

This map is offerred not as a final product but rather as a proof of concept. The concept is that dissents belong in rich accounts of Supreme Court doctrine — and vote view maps provide a means to represent such accounts. If any reader with an interest in immigration doctrine wants to build upon this map, please email me!



Please click here for a full-sized version of the map with links to the underlying opinions.

This week's map of the week is an update/edit of last week's map. I received feeback on last week's map from Prof. Scott Dodson (with whom I've colloborated). He asked: "Where is Scott v. Harris?" This was a great question. It was not in last week's map because it was not cited by Tolon v. Cotton, nor in any case that Tolan cited. The network approach relies on citations. SO: what I did was add in the Scott v. Harris->Adickes network (3 degrees; again filtered on Summary Judgment.). The result is a larger network of 18 cases. Interestingly, the network retains the virtually same degree of dissent (0.53 vs. 0.52 in last week's map) despite having 6 more cases added.

Prof. Dodson also noted that the coding seemed off. It's hard to see Adickes as a conservative decision. This is no doubt true, but is a function of the Spaeth data set. As it happens, this week Prof. Todd Pettys posted an interesting article on SSRN that speaks to some of the problems of the Spaeth data set. This is an ongoing issue and one worth bearing in mind as we undertake the mapping endeavor.

That's it for this week. Feedback is always welcome!



Please click here for a full-sized version of the map with links to the underlying opinions.

In 2014, the Supreme Court decided Tolan v. Cotton, the latest in a relatively small series of cases interpreting FRCP 56 -- the federal rule relating to summary judgment. The map above shows the citation network connecting Tolan to one of the Court's earlier summary judgment cases -- United States v. Diebold (1962). This network was created by linking Tolan to Diebold at 3 degrees and filled out by linking Tolan to important intermediate cases (Creighton and Adickes) at 3 degrees. The entire network was filtered to display only those cases containing the text "summary judgment."

This map is displayed on the Spaeth axis (Spaeth-coded liberal decisions are teal; Spaeth-coded conservative decisions are orange). The map shows that cases in the network have an average degree of dissent of 0.52 -- making the "average decision" a 7-2. However, if we don't include the relatively controversial "1986 summary judgment trilogy", the average degree of dissent drops to 0.38 (much closer to 8-1). In other words, there has been a higher degree of consensus in this doctrine since the big 1986 cases. This is as one would hope -- a procedural form such as summary judgment is far less likely to involve hot-button value judgments such as those seen in Eighth Amendment or Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.



To open a full-sized version of this map -- complete with links to the underlying opinions -- please click here.

This map shows over 100 years of Supreme Court doctrine around the nature of immigration power. It was created by combining two 3-degree citiation network that both start with 2010's Padilla v. Kentucky. One network links Padilla to the Chinese Exclusion Case (1889) and the other links Padilla to Fong Yue Ting (1892). This combined network was then filtered so that only opinions containing the word "immigration" are displayed.

The network is depicted using a Spaeth display. Red cases are coded conservative by the Supreme Court Database while blue cases are coded liberal. Please note that since the Spaeth database does not contain any cases decided prior to the 1946 term, all the cases in green have no Spaeth values. Their postion on the Y axis is thus random. This map therefore hints at the limits of Spaeth when undertaking historical doctrinal research. For more on mapping using Spaeth displays, please see this video.



The Supreme Court's 2014 Hobby Lobby decision was one of last Term's most controversial cases. At its most basic level, Hobby Lobby concerned the interpretation of RFRA - the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a law passed by Congress in 1993 in direct response to the Supreme Court's decision in Employment Division v. Smith. The map above shows the 3-degree citation network connecting Hobby Lobby to Smith. To fill out the network, the map was combined with the 3-degree network connecting Hobby Lobby to 1993's Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye. Please note that the combined network originally contained 17 cases. Five cases were filtered out because they did not contain the phrase "free exercise."

The map now shows the network of post-Smith decisions implicating the First Amendment issue in Hobby Lobby. This is presented as a random network (the Y axis has no meaning; for explanation of this concept please watch this video). Blue cases are the first degree connections. Magenta cases are the second degree connections. Green cases are the third degree connections. To view the opinion text for any of the cases, click on the map above and then click on cases. 




In 1972, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) was enacted into law. This law created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and has been the subject of vociferous litigation ever since. The Court's most recent pronouncement came in 2014's McCutcheon v. FEC. On First Amendment grounds, the McCutcheon majority struck down certain caps on individual contributions.

This map shows a Spaeth Visualization of the 3-degree citation networks linking McCutcheon as well as the controverisal 2010 Citizens United decision to the Court's first FECA case, Buckley v. Valeo (1976). Since these networks were very large, I filtered out all cases that did not include the text "federal election campaign act". After this filtering process, I manually took out "orphan opinions" -- ones that did not cite to other cases in the network. This map shows just how divisive these cases are. The average degree of dissent is 0.62. If you only count cases decided from 1986 onwards, the degree of dissent in the network increases to 0.79! The map gives visual representation to the reality that campaign finance is a highly divisive area of doctrine.