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Full-Text Articles in Judges

Law Matters -- Less Than We Thought, Daniel M. Klerman, Holger Spamann Aug 2019

Law Matters -- Less Than We Thought, Daniel M. Klerman, Holger Spamann

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

In a pre-registered 2×2×2 factorial between-subject randomized lab experiment with 61 federal judges, we test if the law influences judicial decisions, if it does so more under a rule than under a standard, and how its influence compares to that of legally irrelevant sympathies. The judges were given realistic materials and a relatively long period of time (50 minutes) to decide a run-of-the-mill auto accident case. We find weak evidence for the law effect, stronger evidence that rules constrain more than standards, and no evidence of a sympathy effect. Unexpectedly, we find that judges were more likely to ...


Posner And Class Actions, Daniel M. Klerman Jan 2019

Posner And Class Actions, Daniel M. Klerman

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The hallmark of Judge Posner’s class action decisions is rigorous review to ensure that aggregate litigation serves the best interests of class members and does not unduly pressure defendants to settle. Although he championed class actions, especially as a way to provide efficient justice in cases involving numerous small claims, Posner also recognized that, because of the agency problems that pervade class action litigation, ordinary adversary procedures were not sufficient to protect class members. As a result, the judge had to act as a fiduciary for the class, especially when approving settlements and fee awards. In addition, the colossal ...


Forum Selling Abroad, Stefan Bechtold, Jens Frankenreiter, Daniel M. Klerman Sep 2018

Forum Selling Abroad, Stefan Bechtold, Jens Frankenreiter, Daniel M. Klerman

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Judges decide cases. Do they also try to influence which cases they decide? Clearly plaintiffs “shop” for the most attractive forum, but do judges try to attract cases by “selling” their courts? Some American judges actively try to enlarge their influence by making their courts attractive to plaintiffs, a phenomenon known as “forum sell-ing.” This article shows that forum selling occurs outside the U.S. as well, focusing on Germany, a country that is often held up as the paragon of the civil law approach to adjudication. As in the U.S., German courts attract cases primarily through the pro-plaintiff ...


Legal Attitudes Of Immigrant Detainees, Emily Ryo Feb 2017

Legal Attitudes Of Immigrant Detainees, Emily Ryo

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

A substantial body of research shows that people’s legal attitudes can have wide-ranging behavioral consequences. In this article, I use original survey data to examine long-term immigrant detainees’ legal attitudes. I find that the majority of detainees express a felt obligation to obey the law, and do so at a significantly higher rate than other U.S. sample populations. I also find that the detainees’ perceived obligation to obey U.S. immigration authorities is significantly related to their evaluations of procedural justice, as measured by their assessments of fair treatment while in detention. This finding remains robust controlling for ...


Forum Selling, Daniel M. Klerman, Greg Reilly Jul 2016

Forum Selling, Daniel M. Klerman, Greg Reilly

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Forum shopping is problematic because it may lead to forum selling. For diverse motives, including prestige, local benefits, or re-election, some judges want to hear more cases. When plaintiffs have wide choice of forum, such judges have incentives to make the law more pro-plaintiff, because plaintiffs choose the court. While only a few judges may be motivated to attract more cases, their actions can have large effects, because their courts will attract a disproportionate share of cases. For example, judges in the Eastern District of Texas have distorted the rules and practices relating to case assignment, joinder, discovery, transfer, and ...


Finding Certainty In Cert: An Empirical Analysis Of The Factors Involved In Supreme Court Certiorari Decisions From 2001-2015, Adam Feldman, Alexander Kappner Feb 2016

Finding Certainty In Cert: An Empirical Analysis Of The Factors Involved In Supreme Court Certiorari Decisions From 2001-2015, Adam Feldman, Alexander Kappner

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The Supreme Court annually grants approximately 5% of the petitions to hear cases it receives. It denies petitions from the federal government, from large corporations, and from high-profile attorneys. The decisions of which petitions for writ of certiorari the Court grants sets the Court’s agenda each term and defines the issues which the Court will engage. With such a low likelihood that the Court hears any particular case, what makes a petition more or less likely to be granted? The focus of much of the existing scholarship on certiorari deals with the theoretical underpinnings of these judicial decisions. In ...


Who Wins In The Supreme Court? An Examination Of Attorney And Law Firm Influence, Adam Feldman Feb 2016

Who Wins In The Supreme Court? An Examination Of Attorney And Law Firm Influence, Adam Feldman

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Who are the most successful attorneys in the Supreme Court? A novel way to answer this question is by looking at attorneys' relative influence on the course of the law. This article performs macro and micro-level analyses of the most successful Supreme Court litigators by examining the amount of language shared between nearly 9,500 Supreme Court merits briefs and their respective Supreme Court opinions from 1946 through 2013. The article also includes analyses of the most successful law firms according to the same metric.


Randomized Judicial Review, Andrei Marmor Mar 2015

Randomized Judicial Review, Andrei Marmor

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

One of the main arguments in support of constitutional judicial review points to the need to curtail the legal and political power of majority rule instantiated by democratic legislative institutions. This article aims to challenge the counter majoritarian argument for judicial review by showing that there is very little difference, at least morally speaking, between the current structure of constitutional judicial review in the US, and a system that would impose limits on majoritarian decisions procedures by an entirely randomized mechanism. The argument is based on a hypothetical model of a randomized system of judicial review, and proceeds to show ...


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 ...


Law, Power, And "Rumors Of War": Robert Jackson Confronts Law And Security After Nuremberg, Mary L. Dudziak Apr 2012

Law, Power, And "Rumors Of War": Robert Jackson Confronts Law And Security After Nuremberg, Mary L. Dudziak

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson’s most important legacy was his role as chief prosecutor for the United States at the Nuremberg Trials. This essay follows Jackson’s legal thought from his return to the United States after Nuremberg, until his death in 1954. Jackson hoped that the lesson of Nuremberg would be “to establish the supremacy of law over such lawless and catastrophic forces as war and persecutions.” Jackson changed law that applied to warfare. In looking to the future, he seems to have assumed that although law had changed, war would retain its essential character. Yet as the ...


Unlimited War And Social Change: Unpacking The Cold War's Impact, Mary L. Dudziak Sep 2010

Unlimited War And Social Change: Unpacking The Cold War's Impact, Mary L. Dudziak

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This paper is a draft chapter of a short book critically examining the way assumptions about the temporality of war inform American legal and political thought. In earlier work, I show that a set of ideas about time are a feature of the way we think about war. Historical progression is thought to consist in movement from one kind of time to another (from wartime to peacetime, to wartime, etc.). Wartime is thought of as an exception to normal life, inevitably followed by peacetime. Scholars who study the impact of war on American law and politics tend to work within ...


Deep And Wide: Justice Marshall's Contributions To Constitutional Law, Rebecca L. Brown Jul 2009

Deep And Wide: Justice Marshall's Contributions To Constitutional Law, Rebecca L. Brown

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

This essay, a contribution to a symposium marking the 100th anniversary of Justice Thurgood Marshall’s birth, explores Justice Marshall’s singular understanding of equality as a driving force underlying all of constitutional law. His theory of equality as giving rise to an obligation on government to provide reasons for its actions reflects a sophisticated and under-appreciated perspective on American constitutionalism, as illustrated by several examples offered in the essay.


The View From The Trenches: A Report On The Breakout Sessions At The 2005 National Conference On Appellate Justice , Arthur Hellman Jan 2007

The View From The Trenches: A Report On The Breakout Sessions At The 2005 National Conference On Appellate Justice , Arthur Hellman

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Working Paper Series

In November 2005, four prominent legal organizations sponsored the second National Conference on Appellate Justice. One purpose was to take a fresh look at the operation of appellate courts 30 years after the first National Conference. As part of the 2005 Conference, small groups of judges and lawyers gathered in breakout sessions to discuss specific issues about the operation of the appellate system. This article summarizes and synthesizes the participants’ comments. The article is organized around three major topics, each of which builds on a different contrast with the 1975 conference.

First, the participants in the earlier conference apparently assumed ...


Judicial Citation To Legislative History: Contextual Theory And Empirical Analysis, Michael B. Abramowicz, Emerson H. Tiller May 2005

Judicial Citation To Legislative History: Contextual Theory And Empirical Analysis, Michael B. Abramowicz, Emerson H. Tiller

Public Law and Legal Theory Papers

Judge Leventhal famously described the invocation of legislative history as "the equivalent of entering a crowded cocktail party and looking over the heads of the guests for one's friends." The volume of legislative history is so great and varied, some contend, that judges cite it selectively to advance their policy agendas. In this article, we employ positive political and contextual theories of judicial behavior to examine how judges use legislative history. We consider whether opinion-writing judges, as Judge Leventhal might suggest, cite legislative history from legislators who share the same political-ideological perspective as the opinion-writing judge? Or do judges ...


Judicial Citation To Legislative History: Contextual Theory And Empirical Analysis, Michael B. Abramowicz, Emerson H. Tiller May 2005

Judicial Citation To Legislative History: Contextual Theory And Empirical Analysis, Michael B. Abramowicz, Emerson H. Tiller

Law and Economics Papers

Judge Leventhal famously described the invocation of legislative history as "the equivalent of entering a crowded cocktail party and looking over the heads of the guests for one's friends." The volume of legislative history is so great and varied, some contend, that judges cite it selectively to advance their policy agendas. In this article, we employ positive political and contextual theories of judicial behavior to examine how judges use legislative history. We consider whether opinion-writing judges, as Judge Leventhal might suggest, cite legislative history from legislators who share the same political-ideological perspective as the opinion-writing judge? Or do judges ...


What Is Legal Doctrine, Emerson Tiller, Frank B. Cross May 2005

What Is Legal Doctrine, Emerson Tiller, Frank B. Cross

Public Law and Legal Theory Papers

Legal doctrine is the currency of the law. In many respects, doctrine is the law, at least as it comes from courts. Judicial opinions create the rules or standards that comprise legal doctrine. Yet the nature and effect of legal doctrine has been woefully understudied. Researchers from the legal academy and from political science departments have conducted extensive research on the law, but they have largely ignored the others’ efforts. Part of the reason for this unfortunate disconnect is that neither has effectively come to grips with the descriptive meaning of legal doctrine. In this article, we attempt to describe ...


Rehnquist And Federalism: An Empirical Perspective, Ruth Colker, Kevin Scott May 2005

Rehnquist And Federalism: An Empirical Perspective, Ruth Colker, Kevin Scott

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Working Paper Series

We attempt to articulate a vision of federalism, particularly the Rehnquist version of federalism. We find that there is little consistent thought on the role of the judiciary in protecting federalism. This lack of consensus makes it difficult to predict the decisions federalists might make, but we attempt to outline Chief Justice Rehnquist's contributions to understanding the role courts should play in protecting federalism. We then attempt to assess if Rehnquist adheres to his own vision of federalism. Using his votes since his elevation to Chief Justice in 1986, we test several hypotheses designed to determine if Chief Justice ...


Defining Dicta, Michael Abramowicz, Maxwell Stearns Dec 2004

Defining Dicta, Michael Abramowicz, Maxwell Stearns

George Mason University School of Law Working Papers Series

In recent decades, legal scholars have devoted substantially greater attention to studying the origin and nature of stare decisis than to defining the distinction between holding and dicta. This appears counter-intuitive when one considers, first, that stare decisis applies only to holdings of announced precedents, and second, that beyond problematic and rudimentary intuitions, the legal system has failed to develop meaningful definitions of these terms. While lawyers, legal scholars, and jurists likely assume that they can identify dicta when they see it, a careful analysis that categorizes the range of judicial assertions in need of proper characterization reveals that defining ...


Foreseeing Greatness? Measurable Performance Criteria And The Selection Of Supreme Court Justices, James J. Brudney Dec 2004

Foreseeing Greatness? Measurable Performance Criteria And The Selection Of Supreme Court Justices, James J. Brudney

The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law Working Paper Series

This article contributes to an ongoing debate about the feasibility and desireability of measuring the "merit" of appellate judges--and their consequent Supreme Court potential--by using objective performance variables. Relying on the provocative and controversial "tournament criteria" proposed by Professors Stephen Choi and Mitu Gulati in two recent articles, Brudney assesses the "Supreme Court potential" of Warren Burger and Harry Blackmun based on their appellate court records. He finds that Burger's appellate performance appears more promising under the Choi and Gulati criteria, but then demonstrates how little guidance these quantitative assessments actually provide when reviewing the two men's careers ...


Valuation Averaging: A New Procedure For Resolving Valuation Disputes, Keith Sharfman Dec 2003

Valuation Averaging: A New Procedure For Resolving Valuation Disputes, Keith Sharfman

Rutgers Law School (Newark) Faculty Papers

In this Article, Professor Sharfman addresses the problem of "discretionary valuation": that courts resolve valuation disputes arbitrarily and unpredictably, thus harming litigants and society. As a solution, he proposes the enactment of "valuation averaging," a new procedure for resolving valuation disputes modeled on the algorithmic valuation processes often agreed to by sophisticated private firms in advance of any dispute. He argues that by replacing the discretion of judges and juries with a mechanical valuation process, valuation averaging would cause litigants to introduce more plausible and conciliatory valuations into evidence and thereby reduce the cost of valuation litigation and increase the ...