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Natural Court
Variable Name
naturalCourt
Spaeth Name
NATCT
Normalizations
110 [ view ]

Although most judicial research is chronologically organized by the term of the Court or by chief justice, many users employ "natural courts" as their analytical frame of reference.

A natural court is a period during which no personnel change occurs. Scholars have subdivided them into "strong" and "weak" natural courts, but no convention exists as to the dates on which they begin and end. Options include 1) date of confirmation, 2) date of seating, 3) cases decided after seating, and 4) cases argued and decided after seating. A strong natural court is delineated by the addition of a new justice or the departure of an incumbent. A weak natural court, by comparison, is any group of sitting justices even if lengthy vacancies occurred.

The values below divide the Courts into strong natural courts, each of which begins when the Reports first specify that the new justice is present but not necessarily participating in the reported case. Similarly, a natural court ends on the date when the Reports state that an incumbent justice has died, retired, or resigned. The courts are numbered consecutively by chief justice as the code at the left-hand margin indicates.

Note, especially, that the Court was without a chief justice during the 1836 term. This was the period between Marshall's death and Taney's confirmation.

For more on delineating natural courts, see See Edward V. Heck, "Justice Brennan and the Heyday of Warren Court Liberalism," 20 Santa Clara Law Review 841 (1980) 842-843 and "Changing Voting Patterns in the Burger Court: The Impact of Personnel Change," 17 San Diego Law Review 1021 (1980) 1038; Harold J. Spaeth and Michael F. Altfeld, "Measuring Power on the Supreme Court: An Alternative to the Power Index," 26 Jurimetrics 48 (1985) 55.
 
Values:
101 Jay 1 October 05, 1789 - May 11, 1790
102 Jay 2 May 12, 1790 - August 05, 1792
103 Jay 3 August 06, 1792 - March 10, 1793
104 Jay 4 March 11, 1793 - August 11, 1795
201 Rutledge 1 August 12, 1795 - December 15, 1795
202 No Chief (Post-Rutledge) February 04, 1796 - March 07, 1796
301 Ellsworth 1 March 08, 1796 - November 08, 1798
302 Ellsworth 2 November 09, 1798 - April 20, 1800
303 Ellsworth 3 April 21, 1800 - February 03, 1801
401 Marshall 1 February 04, 1801 - May 06, 1804
402 Marshall 2 May 07, 1804 - January 19, 1807
403 Marshall 3 January 20, 1807 - May 03, 1807
404 Marshall 4 May 04, 1807 - November 22, 1811
405 Marshall 5 November 23, 1811 - February 02, 1812
406 Marshall 6 February 03, 1812 - August 31, 1823
407 Marshall 7 September 01, 1823 - June 15, 1826
408 Marshall 8 June 16, 1826 - January 10, 1830
409 Marshall 9 January 11, 1830 - January 13, 1835
410 Marshall 10 January 14, 1835 - March 27, 1836
501 Taney 1 March 28, 1836 - May 11, 1836
502 Taney 2 May 12, 1836 - April 30, 1837
503 Taney 3 May 01, 1837 - January 08, 1838
504 Taney 4 January 09, 1838 - January 09, 1842
505 Taney 5 January 10, 1842 - February 26, 1845
506 Taney 6 February 27, 1845 - September 22, 1845
507 Taney 7 September 23, 1845 - August 09, 1846
508 Taney 8 August 10, 1846 - October 09, 1851
509 Taney 9 October 10, 1851 - April 10, 1853
510 Taney 10 April 11, 1853 - January 20, 1858
511 Taney 11 January 21, 1858 - January 26, 1862
512 Taney 12 January 27, 1862 - July 20, 1862
513 Taney 13 July 21, 1862 - December 09, 1862
514 Taney 14 December 10, 1862 - May 19, 1863
515 Taney 15 May 20, 1863 - December 14, 1864
601 Chase 1 December 15, 1864 - March 13, 1870
602 Chase 2 March 14, 1870 - January 08, 1873
603 Chase 3 January 09, 1873 - March 03, 1874
701 Waite 1 March 04, 1874 - December 09, 1877
702 Waite 2 December 10, 1877 - January 04, 1881
703 Waite 3 January 05, 1881 - May 16, 1881
704 Waite 4 May 17, 1881 - January 08, 1882
705 Waite 5 January 09, 1882 - April 02, 1882
706 Waite 6 April 03, 1882 - January 17, 1888
707 Waite 7 January 18, 1888 - October 07, 1888
801 Fuller 1 October 08, 1888 - January 05, 1890
802 Fuller 2 January 06, 1890 - January 04, 1891
803 Fuller 3 January 05, 1891 - October 09, 1892
804 Fuller 4 October 10, 1892 - March 03, 1893
805 Fuller 5 March 04, 1893 - March 11, 1894
806 Fuller 6 March 12, 1894 - January 05, 1896
807 Fuller 7 January 06, 1896 - January 25, 1898
808 Fuller 8 January 26, 1898 - December 07, 1902
809 Fuller 9 December 08, 1902 - March 01, 1903
810 Fuller 10 March 02, 1903 - December 16, 1906
811 Fuller 11 December 17, 1906 - January 02, 1910
812 Fuller 12 January 03, 1910 - October 09, 1910
813 No Chief (Post-Fuller) October 10, 1910 - December 18, 1910
901 White 1 December 19, 1910 - March 17, 1912
902 White 2 March 18, 1912 - October 11, 1914
903 White 3 October 12, 1914 - June 04, 1916
904 White 4 June 05, 1916 - October 08, 1916
905 White 5 October 09, 1916 - July 10, 1921
1001 Taft 1 July 11, 1921 - October 01, 1922
1002 Taft 2 October 02, 1922 - January 01, 1923
1003 Taft 3 January 02, 1923 - February 18, 1923
1004 Taft 4 February 19, 1923 - March 01, 1925
1005 Taft 5 March 02, 1925 - February 23, 1930
1101 Hughes 1 February 24, 1930 - June 01, 1930
1102 Hughes 2 June 02, 1930 - March 13, 1932
1103 Hughes 3 March 14, 1932 - August 18, 1937
1104 Hughes 4 August 19, 1937 - January 30, 1938
1105 Hughes 5 January 31, 1938 - January 29, 1939
1106 Hughes 6 January 30, 1939 - April 16, 1939
1107 Hughes 7 April 17, 1939 - February 04, 1940
1108 Hughes 8 February 05, 1940 - July 02, 1941
1201 Stone 1 July 03, 1941 - February 15, 1943
1202 Stone 2 July 03, 1941 - September 30, 1945
1203 Stone 3 October 01, 1945 - June 23, 1946
1301 Vinson 1 June 24, 1946 - August 23, 1949
1302 Vinson 2 June 24, 1946 - October 11, 1949
1303 Vinson 3 October 12, 1949 - October 04, 1953
1401 Warren 1 October 05, 1953 - October 08, 1954
1402 Warren 2 October 09, 1954 - March 27, 1955
1403 Warren 3 March 28, 1955 - October 15, 1956
1404 Warren 4 October 16, 1956 - February 24, 1957
1405 Warren 5 February 25, 1957 - October 13, 1958
1406 Warren 6 October 14, 1958 - March 24, 1962
1407 Warren 7 March 25, 1962 - September 30, 1962
1408 Warren 8 October 01, 1962 - October 03, 1965
1409 Warren 9 October 04, 1965 - October 01, 1967
1410 Warren 10 October 02, 1967 - May 13, 1969
1411 Warren 11 May 14, 1969 - June 22, 1969
1501 Burger 1 June 23, 1969 - June 08, 1970
1502 Burger 2 June 09, 1970 - September 22, 1971
1503 Burger 3 September 23, 1971 - January 06, 1972
1504 Burger 4 January 07, 1972 - November 11, 1975
1505 Burger 5 November 12, 1975 - December 18, 1975
1506 Burger 6 December 19, 1975 - September 24, 1981
1507 Burger 7 September 25, 1981 - September 25, 1986
1601 Rehnquist 1 September 26, 1986 - June 25, 1987
1602 Rehnquist 2 June 26, 1987 - February 17, 1988
1603 Rehnquist 3 February 18, 1988 - September 30, 1990
1604 Rehnquist 4 October 01, 1990 - October 06, 1991
1605 Rehnquist 5 October 07, 1991 - August 09, 1993
1606 Rehnquist 6 August 10, 1993 - August 02, 1994
1607 Rehnquist 7 August 03, 1994 - September 28, 2005
1701 Roberts 1 September 29, 2005 - January 30, 2006
1702 Roberts 2 January 31, 2006 - August 08, 2009
1703 Roberts 3 August 09, 2009 - August 06, 2010
1704 Roberts 4 August 07, 2010 -
Introductory
Identification Variables
Background Variables
Chronological Variables
Substantive Variables
Outcome Variables
Voting & Opinion Variables

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