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2007

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Docketology, District Courts And Doctrine, David A. Hoffman, Alan J. Izenman, Jeffrey Lidicker Jan 2007

Docketology, District Courts And Doctrine, David A. Hoffman, Alan J. Izenman, Jeffrey Lidicker

All Faculty Scholarship

Empirical legal scholars have traditionally modeled trial court judicial opinion writing by assuming that judges act rationally, seeking to maximize their influence by writing opinions in politically important cases. Support for this hypothesis has reviewed published trial court opinions, finding that civil rights and other "hot" topics are more likely to be explained than purportedly ordinary legal problems involved in resolving social security and commercial law cases. This orthodoxy comforts consumers of legal opinions, because it suggests that they are largely representative of judicial work. To test such views, we collected data from a thousand cases in four different jurisdictions. …