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Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)

Abstract

Harold J. Spaeth is a Michigan State University political science professor who has attracted considerable attention for his computer predictions of the outcomes of U.S. Supreme Court cases. Over the past seven years, his predictions are said to have had an accuracy rate of more than 93 percent. Spaeth's approach is to analyze the "voting records" of justices to determine personal attitudes and other factors influencing their decisions. He says these voting records are usually more revealing than legal "theories" which may mask the underlaying motivations in the particular judgment. A U-M law student since the summer of 1979, the 50-year-old professor says "a law degree will assist my future writing and research, and better equip me to do consulting work for attorneys who try cases before the Supreme Court."

In the summer of 1979, after 25 years behind a podium, I became a student at the Law School. Call it role reversal with a vengeance. Now, 14 months and 45 credits later, some observations on the producers, products, and processes of legal education at the University of Michigan

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