Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Susan P. Fino


This thesis examines Horizontal Federalism and Policy Dissemination in a federal system by analyzing the state supreme courts of California, Michigan and New Jersey during various terms in their history, using a unique form of citation analysis that builds upon prior efforts. I want to see what, if anything, a raw citation count says about prestige or reputation. For example, what types of cases are cited? Are they followed, not followed, or part of a dissent or concurrence? Are cases expanding the rights of the criminally accused cited frequently by sister courts? The normative literature associates prestige with expanding the rights of criminal suspects using state constitutions. (The New Judicial Federalism) Similarly, reputation and prestige are also associated with high citation counts by sister courts. My first objective is to determine what is actually being cited and why and my second purpose is to ascertain whether decisions expanding the rights of criminal suspects are more frequently cited than other types of cases. If prestige and the New Judicial Federalism are closely associated, and high citation counts denote prestige, then it follows that a large percentage of citations by sister courts would be to such decisions. I conclude that, contrary to expectations, decisions involving the New Judicial Federalism only constitute a small percentage of positive citations by sister courts and in many cases are negative. The most likely explanation appears to be the method of judicial selection and the level of a given state Supreme Court's accountability to the public.