United States Supreme Court Judicial Database, Phase II: 1953-1993 (ICPSR 6987)

Principal Investigator(s): Gibson, James L.


The purpose of this data collection was to record information about the cases, litigants, amicus participants, and the opinions decided by the Supreme Court under the tenure of Chief Justices Earl Warren (1953-1969) and Warren Burger (1969-1986) and others through 1993. The approach of this study was to proceed deductively, rather than seek to infer values of a particular group of justices. This method allows the investigation of value conflicts that are not litigated, as well as the value conflicts represented in Supreme Court opinions. Opinions are coded on the basis of their literal content, and the data are organized around the opinions. There are eight types of opinions. Within each type, up to six topics are coded, and within each topic, up to two values are coded. There are three integrated parts to this study, each of which can be linked to the other files by specific variables. Part 1, Supreme Court Database, contains basic case attributes from UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL DATABASE, 1953-1993 TERMS (ICPSR 9422) and the opinions given in the cases. Part 2, Briefs, gives information on the filers and co-filers for cases in which amicus curie briefs were filed. Part 3, Groups, lists the litigants' names. The distinct aspects of the Court's decisions are covered by six types of variables in Part 1: (1) identification variables including case citation, docket number, unit of analysis, and number of records per unit of analysis, (2) background variables offering information on origin of case, source of case, reason for granting cert, parties to the case, direction of the lower court's decision, and manner in which the Court takes jurisdiction, (3) chronological variables covering date of term of court, chief justice, and natural court, (4) substantive variables including multiple legal provisions, authority for decision, issue, issue areas, and direction of decision, (5) outcome variables supplying information on form of decision, disposition of case, winning party, declaration of unconstitutionality, and multiple memorandum decisions, and (6) voting and opinion variables pertaining to the vote in the case and to the direction of the individual justices' votes.

Series: United States Supreme Court Judicial Database Terms Series

Access Notes

  • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.


DS0:  Study-Level Files
DS1:  Supreme Court Database Data - Download All Files (78.225 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   
DS2:  Briefs Data - Download All Files (10.996 MB)
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup   
DS3:  Groups Data - Download All Files (8.262 MB)
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Study Description


Gibson, James L. UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL DATABASE, PHASE II: 1953-1993. ICPSR version. Houston, TX: University of Houston [producer], 1996. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, Ann Arbor, MI [distributor], 1997. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06987.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06987.v1

Export Citation:

  • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SES-8703468)
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    case processing, court cases, disposition (legal), judicial decisions, judicial review, legal history, Supreme Court decisions, Supreme Court justices, twentieth century, United States Supreme Court

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1953--1993

Date of Collection:   

  • 1987--1994

Universe:    United States Supreme Court decisions.

Data Type(s):    event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) The data files contain undocumented codes. (2) Value labels are located in the export files provided. (3) The codebook is provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.


Data Source:

United States Supreme Court Reports and UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL DATABASE, 1953-1993 TERMS (ICPSR 9422)


Original ICPSR Release:   1997-12-11

Version History:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB6987.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.

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