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Full-Text Articles in Law

Methodological Advances And Empirical Legal Scholarship: A Note On The Cox And Miles' Voting Rights Act Study, Nancy Staudt, Tyler Vanderweele Jan 2010

Methodological Advances And Empirical Legal Scholarship: A Note On The Cox And Miles' Voting Rights Act Study, Nancy Staudt, Tyler Vanderweele

Faculty Working Papers

In this Response, we use Professors Cox and Miles' recent study of judicial decision-making to explore what is at stake when legal scholars present empirical findings without fully investigating the structural relationships of their data or without explicitly stating the assumptions being made to draw causal inferences. We then introduce a new methodology that is intuitive, easy to use, and, most importantly, allows scholars systematically to assess problems of bias and confounding. This methodology—known as causal directed acyclic graphs—will help empirical researchers to identify true cause and effect relationships when they exist and, at the same time, posit ...


Economic Trends And Judicial Outcomes: A Macrotheory Of The Court, Thomas Brennan, Lee Epstein, Nancy Staudt Jan 2010

Economic Trends And Judicial Outcomes: A Macrotheory Of The Court, Thomas Brennan, Lee Epstein, Nancy Staudt

Faculty Working Papers

In this symposium essay, we investigate the effect of economic conditions on the voting behavior of U.S. Supreme Court Justices. We theorize that Justices are akin to voters in political elections; specifically, we posit that the Justices will view short-term and relatively minor economic downturns—recessions—as attributable to the failures of elected officials, but will consider long-term and extreme economic contractions—depressions—as the result of exogenous shocks largely beyond the control of the government. Accordingly, we predict two patterns of behavior in economic-related cases that come before the Court: (1) in typical times, when the economy cycles ...


The Greatest Legal Movie Of All Time: Proclaiming The Real Winner, Grant H. Morris Jan 2010

The Greatest Legal Movie Of All Time: Proclaiming The Real Winner, Grant H. Morris

Grant H Morris

In August, 2008, the ABA Journal featured an article entitled: “The 25 Greatest Legal Movies.” A panel of experts, described in the article as “12 prominent lawyers who teach film or are connected to the business” selected “the best movies ever made about lawyers and the law.” This distinguished panel ranked its twenty-five top legal movies, choosing To Kill a Mockingbird as its number one legal movie. The panel also selected twenty-five films as “honorable mentions,” which were listed in alphabetical order. In my opinion, however, the real greatest legal movie of all time was not selected as the winner ...


Let My People Go: Ethnic In-Group Bias In Judicial Decisions – Evidence From A Randomized Natural Experiment, Oren Gazal-Ayal, Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan Jan 2010

Let My People Go: Ethnic In-Group Bias In Judicial Decisions – Evidence From A Randomized Natural Experiment, Oren Gazal-Ayal, Raanan Sulitzeanu-Kenan

Oren Gazal-Ayal

Does ethnic identity affect judicial decisions? We provide new evidence on ethnic biases in judicial behavior, by examining the decisions of Arab and Jewish judges in first bail hearings of Arab and Jewish suspects in Israeli courts. Our setting avoids the potential bias from unobservable case characteristics by exploiting the random assignment of judges to cases during weekends, and by focusing on the difference in ethnic disparity between Arab and Jewish judges. The study concentrates on the early-stage decisions in the judicial criminal process, controlling for the state's position, and excluding agreements, thereby allowing us to distinguish judicial bias ...


All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies And The Rule Of Law, Keith J. Bybee Jan 2010

All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies And The Rule Of Law, Keith J. Bybee

College of Law Faculty - Scholarship

This paper contains the introduction to the new book, All Judges Are Political—Except When They Are Not: Acceptable Hypocrisies and the Rule of Law (Stanford University Press, 2010).

The book begins with the observation that Americans are divided in their beliefs about whether courts operate on the basis of unbiased legal principle or of political interest. This division in public opinion in turn breeds suspicion that judges do not actually mean what they say, that judicial professions of impartiality are just fig leaves used to hide the pursuit of partisan purposes.

Comparing law to the practice of common courtesy ...


Pro-Prosecution Judges: "Tough On Crime," Soft On Strategy, Ripe For Disqualification, Keith Swisher Dec 2009

Pro-Prosecution Judges: "Tough On Crime," Soft On Strategy, Ripe For Disqualification, Keith Swisher

Keith Swisher

In this Article, I take the most extensive look to date at pro-prosecution judges and ultimately advance the following, slightly scandalous claim: Particularly in our post-Caperton, political-realist world, “tough on crime” elective judges should recuse themselves from all criminal cases. The contextual parts to this claim are, in the main, a threefold description: (i) the "groundbreaking" Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal decision, its predecessors, and its progeny; (ii) the judicial ethics of disqualification; and (iii) empirical and anecdotal evidence of pro-prosecution (commonly called "tough on crime") campaigns and attendant electoral pressures. Building on this description and the work of ...