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Full-Text Articles in Law

Inside The Judicial Mind, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich Jan 2001

Inside The Judicial Mind, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The quality of the judicial system depends upon the quality of decisions that judges make. Even the most talented and dedicated judges surely make occasional mistakes, but the public understandably expects judges to avoid systematic errors. This expectation, however, might be unrealistic. Psychologists who study human judgment and choice have learned that people frequently fall prey to cognitive illusions that produce systematic errors in judgment. Even though judges are experienced, well-trained, and highly motivated decision makers, they might be vulnerable to cognitive illusions. We report the results of an empirical study designed to determine whether five common cognitive illusions (anchoring ...


Court Fixing, Tracey E. George Jan 2001

Court Fixing, Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article critically examines the existing social science evidence on the relative importance of various individual factors on judicial behavior and adds to that evidence by considering the influence of prior academic experience on judges. Researchers have not focused much attention on the importance of a judge's background as a full-time law professor and legal scholar, although more than thirteen percent of courts of appeals appointees were former law professors. Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan both viewed the federal judiciary (particularly the Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeals) as integral to their policy agendas, and both further believed ...