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The Behavior of Federal Judges: A Theoretical and Empirical Study of Rational Choice

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The Behavior of Federal Judges: A Theoretical and Empirical Study of Rational Choice Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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 the authors' 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.

Synopsis:

Federal judges are not just robots or politicians in robes, yet their behavior is not well understood, even among themselves. Using statistical methods, a political scientist, an economist, and a judge construct a unified theory of judicial decision-making to dispel the mystery of how decisions from district courts to the Supreme Court are made.

About the Author

Lee Epstein is Provost Professor of Law and Political Science and Rader Family Trustee Chair in Law at the University of Southern California.William M. Landes is the Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School.Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.

University of Chicago Law School

Product Details

ISBN:
9780674049895
Author:
Epstein, Lee
Publisher:
Harvard University Press
Author:
The Honorable Richard A. Posner
Author:
Landes, William M.
Author:
Posner, Richard A.
Location:
Cambridge
Subject:
Law-Civil Liberties and Human Rights
Subject:
Political Science-Government - Judicial Branch
Subject:
Political Science-Political Ideologies - General
Subject:
LAW / Courts
Subject:
Law-Legal Guides and Reference
Subject:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / American Government / Judicial Branch
Edition Description:
Cloth
Publication Date:
20130131
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
20 graphs, 100 tables
Pages:
440
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Law » Civil Liberties and Human Rights
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Law » Judicial Power
History and Social Science » Law » Legal Guides and Reference
History and Social Science » Politics » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

The Behavior of Federal Judges: A Theoretical and Empirical Study of Rational Choice New Hardcover
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Product details 440 pages Harvard University Press - English 9780674049895 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Federal judges are not just robots or politicians in robes, yet their behavior is not well understood, even among themselves. Using statistical methods, a political scientist, an economist, and a judge construct a unified theory of judicial decision-making to dispel the mystery of how decisions from district courts to the Supreme Court are made.
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