Multi-User Database on the Attributes of United States District Court Judges, 1801-2000 (ICPSR 4553)

Published: Feb 3, 2009

Principal Investigator(s):
Gary Zuk; Deborah J. Barrow; Gerard S. Gryski

Version V1

This project was undertaken to compile a definitive database on the personal, social, economic, career, and political attributes of judges who served on the United States District Courts from 1801 to 2000. The database includes conventional social background variables such as the name of the appointing president, the judge's religion, political party affiliation, education, and prior experience. In addition, unique items are provided: the temporal sequence of prior career experiences, the timing of and reason for leaving the bench, gender, race and ethnicity, position numbering analogous to the scheme used for the Supreme Court, American Bar Association rating, and net worth (for judges who began service on the bench after 1978). The second objective of this project was to merge these data with a multi-user database on United States District Court decisions. The database is headed by Donald Songer and funded by the National Science Foundation. It includes a unique identification number for each judge participating in a particular decision. The combined databases should enable scholars to explore: (1) intra- and inter-circuit fluctuation in the distribution of social background characteristics, (2) generational and presidential cohort variation in these attributes, and (3) state and partisan control of seats. The collection also facilitates the construction of models that examine the effects of personal attributes on decision making, while controlling for the conditions above. See also MULTI-USER DATABASE ON THE ATTRIBUTES OF UNITED STATES APPEALS COURT JUDGES, 1801-1994 (ICPSR 6796).

Zuk, Gary, Barrow, Deborah J., and Gryski, Gerard S. Multi-User Database on the Attributes of United States District Court Judges, 1801-2000. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-02-03.

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United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics

Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reasons for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research.

1801 -- 2000

1993 -- 2004

Undocumented codes are present in the data.

All judges since the founding of the Republic.

Donald Songer's multi-user database and various publications, such as the JUDICIAL STAFF DIRECTORY, the FEDERAL JUDICIARY ALMANAC, THE AMERICAN BENCH: JUDGES OF THE NATION, the CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, and several WHO'S WHO volumes.

census/enumeration data

survey data



2009-02-02 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • 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.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions. Restricted data files are not available for direct download from the website; click on the Restricted Data button to learn more.

  • The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented.
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This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.