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Posner, influence, prestige, citation rates, invocation rates, superstar, depreciation, judges, empirical research


Some judges have a disproportionate influence over the American judiciary; existing research has shown Judge Richard Posner is one of those judges. Our goal was to identify and determine how Judge Posner’s influence has changed over time. To measure and track his influence, we collected and compared citation and invocation data from three distinct time frames. While these measurements are imperfect, they can help illustrate the level of influence and prestige Judge Posner enjoys. The existing literature led us to expect Judge Posner’s early citation rates to be low. After several years on the bench, the citation rates for each opinion should rise dramatically. By contrast, Judge Posner’s citation rates are exceptionally high from the outset while more recent opinions actually have lower citation rates.

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Judges Commons