May 24, 2008

California Courts Number One?

We previously blogged here about the Chamber of Commerce rankings which placed the California courts in 44th place nationwide for having a reasonable and balanced tort liability system for U.S. business. A new article by Stephen J. Choi, G. Mitu Gulati, and Eric A. Posner, "Which States Have the Best (and Worst) High Courts?" concludes, contrary to the Chamber of Commerce rankings, that the top five state court systems in the nation are California, Arkansas, North Dakota, Montana, and Ohio.

Hat Tip: How Appealing.

UPDATE: (by Curt Cutting): The two studies aren't quite as inconsistent as they might seem at first glance. The Choi, Gulati & Posner article ranks only the highest courts of each state, not the state's court system as a whole. Also, the Choi, Gulati & Posner rankings are based on three objective criteria: influence, independence, and productivity. By contrast, the study sponsored by the U.S. Chamber surveyed corporate counsel about their perceptions of the fairness of each state's judicial system. It's not hard to imagine how a state could excel under the Choi et al. criteria but still fare poorly in the Chamber survey.