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Judicial Overstating, Dan Simon, Nicholas Scurich Aug 2014

Judicial Overstating, Dan Simon, Nicholas Scurich

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Ostensibly, we are all Legal Realists now. No longer do legal theorists insist that judicial decision making fits the mechanical and formalist characterizations of yesteryear. Yet, the predominant style of American appellate court opinions seems to adhere to that improbable mode of adjudication. As argued elsewhere, opinions habitually provide excessively large sets of syllogistic reasons and portray the chosen decision as certain, singularly correct, and as determined inevitably by the legal materials (Simon, A Psychological Model of Judicial Decision Making, 1998).

This article examines two possible explanations for this rhetorical style of Judicial Overstating. First, we review the psychological research ...


Innovating To Improve Access: Changing The Way Courts Regulate Legal Markets, Gillian K. Hadfield Apr 2014

Innovating To Improve Access: Changing The Way Courts Regulate Legal Markets, Gillian K. Hadfield

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The vast majority of ordinary Americans lack any real access to courts as they struggle to navigate a world that is increasingly shaped by legal rules and obligations. Often this means simply forgoing legal rights and entitlements or giving up in the face of claims of wrongdoing. Among those who cannot avoid courts–such as those facing eviction, collection, or foreclosure and those seeking child support, custodial access, or protection from violence or harassment–the vast majority–as many as 99 percent in some cases–find themselves in court without any legal assistance at all. There are many reasons for ...