Expanded United States Supreme Court Judicial Database, 1946-1968 Terms (ICPSR 6557)

Principal Investigator(s): Spaeth, Harold J.


This data collection is an expanded version of UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL DATABASE, 1953-1996 TERMS (ICPSR 9422), encompassing all aspects of United States Supreme Court decision-making from the beginning of the Vinson Court in 1946 to the end of the Warren Court in 1968. Two major differences distinguish the expanded version of the database from the original collection: the addition of data on the decisions of the Vinson Court, and the inclusion of the conference votes of the Vinson and Warren courts. Whereas the original collection contained only the vote as reported in the UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT REPORTS, the expanded database includes all votes cast in conference. Concomitant with the expansion of the database is a shift in its basic unit of analysis. The original collection contained every case in which at least one justice wrote an opinion, and cases without opinions were excluded. This version includes every case in which the Court cast a conference vote, with and without opinions. The justices cast many more votes than they wrote opinions, and hence, the number of Warren Court records in this version increased by more than a factor of two over the original version. As in the original collection, distinct aspects of the Court's decisions are covered by six types of variables: (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.


Dataset - Download All Files (63.568 MB)
SAS    SPSS    Stata    ASCII   
ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   

Study Description


Spaeth, Harold J. EXPANDED UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JUDICIAL DATABASE, 1946-1968 TERMS. 4th ICPSR version. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University, Dept. of Political Science [producer], 1998. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06557.v4

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06557.v4

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-8313773 and 9211452)
  • 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:   

  • 1946--1968

Date of Collection:   

  • 1998

Universe:    United States Supreme Court decisions from the beginning of the Vinson Court (1946) to the end of the Warren Court (1968).

Data Type(s):    event/transaction data

Data Collection Notes:

(1) The data file contains undocumented codes. (2) 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, Lawyers' Edition

Extent of Processing:   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.


Original ICPSR Release:   1996-03-06

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.
  • 1999-04-26 The data file, data definition statements, and codebook have been replaced to include additional variables.
  • 1998-05-20 The data file has been replaced to include additional variables.

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