"The Evolution of Conflict in the Lower Courts"; Deborah Beim, Yale University
Beim studies American politics in general and judicial politics in particular, with a focus on interactions between the U.S. Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals.
Conflicts between the Courts of Appeals are of central importance to the American judiciary. When circuits split, federal law is applied differently in different parts of the country. It has long been known that the existence of a circuit split is the best predictor of Supreme Court review, but data availability has constrained understanding of circuit splits to this fact. In this paper, we explore the ``lifecycle'' of an intercircuit split. We analyze an original dataset that comprises the universe of conflicts between Courts of Appeals that existed between 2005 and 2013, which includes both conflicts the Supreme Court resolved and conflicts it has not yet resolved. We show how long a conflict exists before it is resolved and how many go unresolved altogether, which conflicts are resolved soonest, and how a conflict grows across circuits.