This page is the home for my ‘public lab book’ recording my research on the evolution of arbitrary and capricious review, part of a broader effort to take an open science framework and leverage digitized court texts and digital humanities/text as data techniques for doctrinal research.
I briefly describe why I focus on arbitrary and capricious review below, and this page will include links to each project update as they occur.
Department of Commerce v. New York and Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California have highlighted sharp divisions (and, arguably, substantial inconsistencies) at the Supreme Court concerning the meaning and practice of judicial review of agency action under the arbitrary and capricious standard. Are other judges as divided in their approach to arbitrary and capricious review? Scholars have long suggested that the arbitrary and capricious standard may be inconsistently applied but there is comparatively little systematic scholarship into the actual use of the arbitrary and capricious standard by federal courts.
Using digitized published opinions from the Caselaw Access Project and combining both traditional close reading of case law and text as data techniques, this project advocates for an ‘open science’ approach to systematic doctrinal review, showing how the advent of new text as data methods and digital case sources generates an opportunity for more efficient, transparent and systematic doctrinal research.