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2010

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Charles G. Geyh

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Judicial Politics, The Rule Of Law And The Future Of An Ermine Myth, Charles G. Geyh Feb 2010

Judicial Politics, The Rule Of Law And The Future Of An Ermine Myth, Charles G. Geyh

Charles G. Geyh

According to a Renaissance myth, the ermine would rather die than soil its pristine, white coat. English and later American judges would adopt the ermine as a symbol of the judiciary’s purity and commitment to the rule of law. This “ermine myth” remains central to the legal establishment’s conception of the judicial role: independent judges, the argument goes, disregard extralegal influences and instead follow the law strictly. , In contrast, political scientists had long theorized that judicial independence liberates judges to disregard the law and substitute their extralegal policy preferences. A recent spate of interdisciplinary research, however, has led ...