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Full-Text Articles in Law

Inside The Bankruptcy Judge's Mind, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Dec 2006

Inside The Bankruptcy Judge's Mind, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In this paper, we extend our prior work on generalist judges to explore whether specialization leads to superior judicial decision making. To do so, we report the results of a study of federal bankruptcy judges. In one prior study of bankruptcy judges, Ted Eisenberg reported evidence suggesting that bankruptcy judges, like generalist judges, are susceptible to the "self-serving" or "egocentric" bias when making judgments. Here, we report evidence showing that bankruptcy judges are vulnerable to anchoring and framing effects, but appear largely unaffected by the omission bias, a debtor's race, a debtor's apology, and "terror management" or "mortality ...


Judges, Juries, And Punitive Damages: Empirical Analyses Using The Civil Justice Survey Of State Courts 1992, 1996, And 2001 Data, Theodore Eisenberg, Paula L. Hannaford, Michael Heise, Neil Lafountain, Brian Ostrom, Martin T. Wells, G. Thomas Munsterman Jul 2006

Judges, Juries, And Punitive Damages: Empirical Analyses Using The Civil Justice Survey Of State Courts 1992, 1996, And 2001 Data, Theodore Eisenberg, Paula L. Hannaford, Michael Heise, Neil Lafountain, Brian Ostrom, Martin T. Wells, G. Thomas Munsterman

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

We analyze thousands of trials from a substantial fraction of the nation's most populous counties. Evidence across ten years and three major datasets suggests that: (1) juries and judges award punitive damages in approximately the same ratio to compensatory damages, (2) the level of punitive damages awards has not increased, and (3) juries' and judges' tendencies to award punitive damages differ in bodily injury and no-bodily-injury cases. Jury trials are associated with a greater rate of punitive damages awards in financial injury cases. Judge trials are associated with a greater rate of punitive damages awards in bodily injury cases.


Judges As Rulemakers, Emily Sherwin Jul 2006

Judges As Rulemakers, Emily Sherwin

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In Do Cases Make Bad Law?, Frederick Schauer raises some serious questions about the process of judicial lawmaking. Schauer takes issue with the widely held assumption that judge-made law benefits from the court's focus on a particular real-world dispute. Writing with characteristic eloquence, Schauer argues that the need to resolve a concrete dispute does not enhance the ability of judges to craft sound rules, but instead generates cognitive biases that distort judicial development of legal rules.

Schauer's observations about the risks of rulemaking in an adjudicatory setting are very persuasive. Yet his overall assessment of the common law ...


Treating Religion As Speech: Justice Stevens's Religion Clause Jurisprudence, Eduardo M. Peñalver Mar 2006

Treating Religion As Speech: Justice Stevens's Religion Clause Jurisprudence, Eduardo M. Peñalver

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Justice Stevens has sometimes been caricatured as the U.S. Supreme Court Justice who hates religion. Whether considering questions under the Establishment Clause or the Free Exercise Clause, questions about the funding or regulation of religious groups, or the permissibility of religious speech in public places, in case after case he has voted against religion. Like most caricatures, this view of Justice Stevens is based on a kernel of truth. He does appear to be more likely to vote against religious groups than any other Justice. But an exploration of the cases in which Justice Stevens has voted in favor ...


Cognitive Errors, Individual Differences, And Paternalism, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski Jan 2006

Cognitive Errors, Individual Differences, And Paternalism, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Legal scholars commonly argue that the widespread presence of cognitive errors in judgment justifies legal intervention to save people from predictable mistakes. Such arguments often fail to account for individual variation in the commission of such errors even though individual variation is probably common. If predictable groups of people avoid making the errors that others commit, then law should account for such differences because those who avoid errors will not benefit from paternalistic interventions and indeed may be harmed by them. The research on individual variation suggests three parameters that might distinguish people who can avoid error: cognitive ability, experience ...