WMU News

Grant awarded to enhance court database

Sept. 5, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- Dr. Ashlyn K. Kuersten, associate professor of political science, has been awarded a portion of a $193,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to build upon an established database of court decisions made by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

"The data will allow scholars, lawyers and judges to access trends in appellate court decision making, and assess the future needs of these courts," says Kuersten.

The grant will be used to bring up to date, a previously funded NSF database that contains information on more than 20,000 decisions handed down by the court between1926 and 1996. The database also includes information on 200 case variables in those decisions. Kuersten, in collaboration with Dr. Susan Haire, associate professor of public and international affairs at the University of Georgia, will add decisions handed down from 1997 to 2002 to their database.

"Increasingly politicized judicial selection procedures over the last two decades may be contributing to the appointment of judges who represent more stridently, the views of the political party of the appointing president," says Kuersten. "Judicial selection procedures under the current Bush administration suggest these differences will become even more pronounced, and our data will allow scholars and lawyers to explore this."

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
269 387-8400