SOCIOLOGY 155-THE CHANGING BUSINESS OF AMERICAN COURTS

Historical Writing Assignment(2-3 pages, single-spaced)(10 Points)Due: May 25th, 2016Over the course of the last century or more the business of American courts has beentransformed. In this assignment, use the data displayed in Figure 1 from Kritzer, Herbert M.,Paul Brace, Melinda Gann Hall, and Brent T. Boyea. 2007. “The Business of State Courts,Revisited” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (available on the course smartsite), to answer thefollowing questions about the transformation.
Note: Key to MeasuresDebt: Dispute is about debt owed by one party to another.Other contract: Contract disputes are disputes between parties of a contract regarding the performance ofthe service or the adequacy of compensation.Real property: Disputes ownership or use of land or buildings.Corp.: Disputes between corporations, between corporations and consumers, between corporations andemployees, between corporations and shareholders, etc..Torts: Non-criminal wrongdoing such as accident, personal injury, and product liability cases.Criminal: Cases involving violations of the penal code.Public law: Disputes arising about the structure, procedures, and operation of government.Family & Estates: Disputes about child custody, adoption, wills and trusts, divorce, estate planning
Questions:1. How would you characterize the changes in the composition of cases from the 1870s tothe late 1990s? Which particular changes are most noteworthy? Have those changesaccelerated or decelerated in the last period? (3 pts)2. What social processes in society may be driving the transformation? Discuss theeconomic, political, demographic, or legal shifts that may lie beneath the changingpatterns. (4 pts)3. What kind of evidence would you seek out to build a narrative account of why thechanges in the business of the courts have occurred? (3 pts)
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