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Full-Text Articles in Legal History

Blinking On The Bench: How Judges Decide Cases, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich Nov 2007

Blinking On The Bench: How Judges Decide Cases, Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

How do judges judge? Do they apply law to facts in a mechanical and deliberative way, as the formalists suggest they do, or do they rely on hunches and gut feelings, as the realists maintain? Debate has raged for decades, but researchers have offered little hard evidence in support of either model. Relying on empirical studies of judicial reasoning and decision making, we propose an entirely new model of judging that provides a more accurate explanation of judicial behavior. Our model accounts for the tendency of the human brain to make automatic, snap judgments, which are surprisingly accurate, but which ...


On The Very Idea Of Transitional Justice, Jens David Ohlin Apr 2007

On The Very Idea Of Transitional Justice, Jens David Ohlin

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The phrase "transitional justice" has had an amazingly successful career at an early age. Popularized as an academic concept in the early 1990s in the aftermath of apartheid's collapse in South Africa, the phrase quickly gained traction in a variety of global contexts, including Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Cambodia, and Sierra Leone. A sizeable literature has been generated around it, so much so that one might even call it a sub-discipline with inter-disciplinary qualities. Nonetheless, the concept remains an enigma. It defines the contours of an entire field of intellectual inquiry, yet at the same time it hides more than it ...


Comments On The Comments, Robert S. Summers Mar 2007

Comments On The Comments, Robert S. Summers

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

The paper replies to Bix and Soper (Bix 2007; Soper 2007). Bix’s paper raises methodological questions, especially whether a form-theorist merely needs to reflect on form from the arm-chair so to speak. A variety of methods is called for, including conceptual analysis, study of usage, “education in the obvious,” general reflection on the nature of specific functional legal units, empirical research on their operation and effects, and still more. Further methodological remarks are made in response to Soper’s paper. Soper suggests the possibility of substituting “form v. substance” of a unit as the central contrast here rather than ...


Heuristics And Biases In Bankruptcy Judges, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Mar 2007

Heuristics And Biases In Bankruptcy Judges, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Do specialized judges make better decisions than judges who are generalists? Specialized judges surely come to know their area of law well, but specialization might also allow judges to develop better, more reliable ways of assessing cases. We assessed this question by presenting a group of specialized judges with a set of hypothetical cases designed to elicit a reliance on common heuristics that can lead judges to make poor decisions. Although the judges resisted the influence of some of these heuristics, they also expressed a clear vulnerability to others. These results suggest that specialization does not produce better judgment.