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The behavior of federal judges [electronic resource] : a theoretical and empirical study of rational choice / Lee Epstein, William M. Landes, Richard A. Posner.

Author/Creator:
Epstein, Lee, 1958-
Publication:
Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 2013.
Format/Description:
Book
1 online resource (xv, 422 p. ) ill.
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Subjects:
Judicial process -- United States.
Form/Genre:
Electronic books.
Language:
English
Summary:
Judges play a central role in the American legal system, but their behavior as decision makers is not well understood, even among themselves. The system permits judges to be quite secretive (and most of them are), so indirect methods are required to make sense of their behavior. Here, a political scientist, an economist, and a judge work together to construct a unified theory of judicial decision-making. Using statistical methods to test hypotheses, they dispel the mystery of how judicial decisions in district courts, circuit courts, and the Supreme Court are made. The authors derive their hypotheses from a labor-market model, which allows them to consider judges as they would any other economic actors: as self-interested individuals motivated by both the pecuniary and non-pecuniary aspects of their work. In their view, this model describes judicial behavior better than either the traditional "legalist" theory, which sees judges as automatons who mechanically apply the law to the facts, or the current dominant theory in political science, which exaggerates the ideological component in judicial behavior. Ideology does figure into decision-making at all levels of the federal judiciary, the authors find, but its influence is not uniform. It diminishes as one moves down the judicial hierarchy from the Supreme Court to the courts of appeals to the district courts. As The Behavior of Federal Judges demonstrates, the good news is that ideology does not extinguish the influence of other components in judicial decision-making. Federal judges are not just robots or politicians in robes.
Contents:
A realistic theory of judicial behavior
The previous empirical literature
The Supreme Court
The Courts of Appeals
The district courts and the selection effect
Dissents and dissent aversion
The questioning of lawyers at oral argument
The auditioners.
Notes:
Formerly CIP.
Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contributor:
Landes, William M.
Posner, Richard A.
ISBN:
0-674-07068-2
0-674-06732-0
OCLC:
819330020
Publisher Number:
10.4159/harvard.9780674067325 doi