Classification of Culture and Process in U.S. Supreme Court Language, 1793-2011



In an effort to distantly read U.S. Supreme Court opinions, the authors extracted and classified the noun or noun phrase following every usage of the possessive pronoun "our" in every court opinion from 1793 through the end of the 2011 term. All terms were classified by legal historian Professor David S. Tanenhaus, generally with reference to the original opinion text for context, and were re-checked by Tanenhaus after a period of several months. Thus the classifications represent his qualitative, expert opinion. Each term was classified as representing a "process" oriented usage (e.g. the judicial process), a "culture" or heritage usage, or, in some cases, either "ambiguous" or "unclassified" uses. "Ambiguous" uses are those where classification of the individual uses of each term revealed that no consensus emerged about the generalized meaning of the term (in other words, some were process, and some were culture). For more details about the classification process, please see the data paper. The data is contained in a TSV file containing three fields, with no header. The first field is the number of times this particular follower-term appeared in the entire corpus. The second field is the follower term itself (lowercased), which may be a phrase. The third field is the classification of that term. As of the version 11 update, the file contains 9527 unique follower-terms, representing the terms following "our" in 79,693 uses across the corpus of U.S. Supreme Court opinions from 1793-2011.
Date made availableNov 18 2020

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