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Docket Number
Variable Name
Spaeth Name

This variable contains the docket number that the Supreme Court has assigned to the case. Prior to the first two terms of the Burger Court (1969-1970), different cases coming to the Court in different terms could have the same docket number. The Court eliminated the possibility of such duplication by including the last two digits of the appropriate term before the assigned docket number. Since the 1971 Term, the Court has also operated with a single docket. Cases filed pursuant to the Court's appellate jurisdiction have a two-digit number corresponding to the term in which they were filed, followed by a hyphen and a number varying from one to five digits. Cases invoking the Court's original jurisdiction have a number followed by the abbreviation, "Orig."

During much of the legacy period, docket number do not exist in the Reports; a handful of more modern cases also lack a docket number. For these, the docket variable has no entry.

For administrative purposes, the Court uses the letters, "A," "D," and "S," in place of the term year to identify applications ("A") for stays or bail, proceedings of disbarment or discipline of attorneys ("D"), and matters being held indefinitely for one reason or another ("S"). These occur infrequently and then almost always in the Court's summary orders at the back of each volume of the U.S.Reports. The database excludes these cases, the overwhelming majority of which are denials of petition for certiorari.

Note that the Court can consolidate multiple petitions--each with its own docket number--under one U.S. cite. If you are interested in only the first (lead) case, use the database organized by Supreme Court citation. If you are interested in all the cases consolidated under one cite, select the data organized by docket. Multiple docket numbers under a single case citation almost always contain the same issue as the lead case and differ only in the parties to the case and its origin and source

For the first release of the legacy dataset, only data by citation are available. Users interested in the Vinson Court forward can still download or analyze the data by citation or docket.
Identification Variables
Background Variables
Chronological Variables
Substantive Variables
Outcome Variables
Voting & Opinion Variables

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