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Judicial behavior

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Institution
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Articles 1 - 30 of 33

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Supreme Court And The People: Communicating Decisions To The Public, Barry Sullivan, Ramon Feldbrin Jan 2022

The Supreme Court And The People: Communicating Decisions To The Public, Barry Sullivan, Ramon Feldbrin

Faculty Publications & Other Works

Although the individual Justices of the Supreme Court frequently speak to the public, the Court as an entity holds fast to the purportedly ancient principle that courts should speak only through their official written opinions—the meaning of which is for others to figure out. Over the years, the Court’s decisions have become more complex, prolix, and fractured, making it difficult and time-consuming for anyone outside the professional elites to determine what the Court has held. Even journalists, who attempt to explain the Court’s decisions to the public, struggle to make sense of the Justices’ opinions under the pressures generated by …


The Institutional Mismatch Of State Civil Courts, Colleen Shanahan, Jessica Steinberg, Alyx Mark, Anna E. Carpenter Jan 2022

The Institutional Mismatch Of State Civil Courts, Colleen Shanahan, Jessica Steinberg, Alyx Mark, Anna E. Carpenter

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

State civil courts are central institutions in American democracy. Though designed for dispute resolution, these courts function as emergency rooms for social needs in the face of the failure of the legislative and executive branches to disrupt or mitigate inequality. We reconsider national case data to analyze the presence of social needs in state civil cases. We then use original data from courtroom observation and interviews to theorize how state civil courts grapple with the mismatch between the social needs people bring to these courts and their institutional design. This institutional mismatch leads to two roles of state civil courts …


The Institutional Mismatch Of State Civil Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica Steinberg, Alyx Mark, Anna E. Carpenter Jan 2022

The Institutional Mismatch Of State Civil Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica Steinberg, Alyx Mark, Anna E. Carpenter

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

State civil courts are central institutions in American democracy. Though designed for dispute resolution, these courts function as emergency rooms for social needs in the face of the failure of the legislative and executive branches to disrupt or mitigate inequality. We reconsider national case data to analyze the presence of social needs in state civil cases. We then use original data from courtroom observation and interviews to theorize how state civil courts grapple with the mismatch between the social needs people bring to these courts and their institutional design. This institutional mismatch leads to two roles of state civil courts …


The Field Of State Civil Courts, Anna E. Carpenter, Alyx Mark, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg Jan 2022

The Field Of State Civil Courts, Anna E. Carpenter, Alyx Mark, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg

Faculty Scholarship

This symposium Issue of the Columbia Law Review marks a moment of convergence and opportunity for an emerging field of legal scholarship focused on America’s state civil trial courts. Historically, legal scholarship has treated state civil courts as, at best, a mere footnote in conversations about civil law and procedure, federalism, and judicial behavior. But the status quo is shifting. As this Issue demonstrates, legal scholars are examining our most common civil courts as sites for understanding law, legal institutions, and how people experience civil justice. This engagement is essential for inquiries into how courts shape and respond to social …


The Institutional Mismatch Of State Civil Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg, Alyx Mark, Anna E. Carpenter Jan 2022

The Institutional Mismatch Of State Civil Courts, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica K. Steinberg, Alyx Mark, Anna E. Carpenter

Faculty Scholarship

State civil courts are central institutions in American democracy. Though designed for dispute resolution, these courts function as emergency rooms for social needs in the face of the failure of the legislative and executive branches to disrupt or mitigate inequality. We reconsider national case data to analyze the presence of social needs in state civil cases. We then use original data from courtroom observation and interviews to theorize how state civil courts grapple with the mismatch between the social needs people bring to these courts and their institutional design. This institutional mismatch leads to two roles of state civil courts …


Judges In Lawyerless Courts, Anna E. Carpenter, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica Steinberg, Alyx Mark Jan 2021

Judges In Lawyerless Courts, Anna E. Carpenter, Colleen F. Shanahan, Jessica Steinberg, Alyx Mark

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

The typical American civil trial court is lawyerless. In response to the challenge of pro se litigation, scholars, advocates, judges, and courts have embraced a key solution: reforming the judge’s traditional role. The prevailing vision calls on trial judges to set aside traditional judicial passivity, simplify court procedures, and offer a range of assistance and accommodation to people without counsel.

Despite widespread support for judicial role reform, we know little of whether and how judges are implementing pro se assistance recommendations. Our lack of knowledge stands in stark contrast to the responsibility civil trial judges bear – and the power …


The New Oral Argument: Justices As Advocates, Tonja Jacobi, Matthew Sag Jan 2019

The New Oral Argument: Justices As Advocates, Tonja Jacobi, Matthew Sag

Faculty Articles

This Article conducts a comprehensive empirical inquiry of fifty-five years of Supreme Court oral argument, showing that judicial activity has increased dramatically, in terms of words used, duration of speech, interruptions made, and comments proffered. The Court is asking no more questions of advocates; instead, the justices are providing conclusions and rebutting their colleagues. In addition, the justices direct more of their comments and questions to the side with whom they ultimately disagree. Furthermore, “losing” justices, be it ideological camps that are outnumbered on the Court or dissenters in specific cases, use oral arguments to push back against the dominant …


Taking Laughter Seriously At The Supreme Court, Tonja Jacobi, Matthew Sag Jan 2019

Taking Laughter Seriously At The Supreme Court, Tonja Jacobi, Matthew Sag

Faculty Articles

Laughter in Supreme Court oral arguments has been misunderstood, treated as either a lighthearted distraction from the Court’s serious work, or interpreted as an equalizing force in an otherwise hierarchical environment. Examining the more than nine thousand instances of laughter witnessed at the Court since 1955, this Article shows that the Justices of the Supreme Court use courtroom humor as a tool of advocacy and a signal of their power and status. As the Justices have taken on a greater advocacy role in the modern era, they have also provoked more laughter.

The performative nature of courtroom humor is apparent …


Taking Laughter Seriously At The Supreme Court, Matthew Sag Jan 2019

Taking Laughter Seriously At The Supreme Court, Matthew Sag

Faculty Publications & Other Works

Laughter in Supreme Court oral arguments has been misunderstood, treated as either a lighthearted distraction from the Court's serious work, or interpreted as an equalizing force in an otherwise hierarchical environment. Examining the more than nine thousand instances of laughter witnessed at the Court since 1955, this Article shows that the Justices of the Supreme Court use courtroom humor as a tool of advocacy and a signal of their power and status. As the Justices have taken on a greater advocacy role in the modern era, they have also provoked more laughter. The performative nature of courtroom humor is apparent …


Judicial Conflicts And Voting Agreement: Evidence From Interruptions At Oral Argument, Tonja Jacobi, Kyle Rozema Jan 2018

Judicial Conflicts And Voting Agreement: Evidence From Interruptions At Oral Argument, Tonja Jacobi, Kyle Rozema

Faculty Articles

This Article asks whether observable conflicts between Supreme Court justices—interruptions between the justices during oral arguments—can predict breakdowns in voting outcomes that occur months later. To answer this question, we built a unique dataset based on the transcripts of Supreme Court oral arguments and justice votes in cases from 1960 to 2015. We find that on average a judicial pair is seven percent less likely to vote together in a case for each interruption that occurs between them in the oral argument for that case. While a conflict between the justices that leads to both interruptions and a breakdown in …


The Disruptive Neuroscience Of Judicial Choice, Anna Spain Bradley Jan 2018

The Disruptive Neuroscience Of Judicial Choice, Anna Spain Bradley

Publications

Scholars of judicial behavior overwhelmingly substantiate the historical presumption that most judges act impartially and independent most of the time. The reality of human behavior, however, says otherwise. Drawing upon untapped evidence from neuroscience, this Article provides a comprehensive evaluation of how bias, emotion, and empathy—all central to human decision-making—are inevitable in judicial choice. The Article offers three novel neuroscientific insights that explain why this inevitability is so. First, because human cognition associated with decision-making involves multiple, and often intersecting, neural regions and circuits, logic and reason are not separate from bias and emotion in the brain. Second, bias, emotion, …


Doctrinal Reasoning As A Disruptive Practice, Jessie Allen Jan 2018

Doctrinal Reasoning As A Disruptive Practice, Jessie Allen

Articles

Legal doctrine is generally thought to contribute to legal decision making only to the extent it determines substantive results. Yet in many cases, the available authorities are indeterminate. I propose a different model for how doctrinal reasoning might contribute to judicial decisions. Drawing on performance theory and psychological studies of readers, I argue that judges’ engagement with formal legal doctrine might have self-disrupting effects like those performers experience when they adopt uncharacteristic behaviors. Such disruptive effects would not explain how judges ultimately select, or should select, legal results. But they might help legal decision makers to set aside subjective biases.


Blackstone, Expositor And Censor Of Law Both Made And Found, Jessie Allen Jan 2017

Blackstone, Expositor And Censor Of Law Both Made And Found, Jessie Allen

Book Chapters

Jeremy Bentham famously insisted on the separation of law as it is and law as it should be, and criticized his contemporary William Blackstone for mixing up the two. According to Bentham, Blackstone costumes judicial invention as discovery, obscuring the way judges make new law while pretending to uncover preexisting legal meaning. Bentham’s critique of judicial phoniness persists to this day in claims that judges are “politicians in robes” who pick the outcome they desire and rationalize it with doctrinal sophistry. Such skeptical attacks are usually met with attempts to defend doctrinal interpretation as a partial or occasional limit on …


Clarence Thomas The Questioner, Ronnell Anderson Jones Jan 2017

Clarence Thomas The Questioner, Ronnell Anderson Jones

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

One of Justice Clarence Thomas’s most remarked upon characteristics is his reluctance to ask questions during oral argument. Many have criticized him for his silence. Others defend his silence, noting, for instance, that historically oral argument played a much less significant role and that the Justice’s written opinions speak for themselves. What has been overlooked in this debate, however, is the fact that Justice Thomas is talented at asking questions. Indeed, in many ways, he is a model questioner. Drawing on the most comprehensive collection of Thomas’s oral argument questions ever compiled, we urge the Justice to ask more questions …


Constitutional Rhetoric, Jamal Greene Jan 2016

Constitutional Rhetoric, Jamal Greene

Faculty Scholarship

For close to a century, students of judicial behavior have suggested that what judges think is not altogether the same as what they say. Within the legal academy, this claim has long been associated with legal realists who have argued that the formal legal rules explicated in judicial opinions are at least partly epiphenomenal, masking the influence that the personal characteristics and dispositions of adjudicators exercise over legal outcomes. Political scientists have argued, variously, that such outcomes are determined by ideology, social background, or political, professional, or other institutional constraints.

The notion that at least some “extralegal” factors influence judicial …


Superstar Judges As Entrepreneurs: The Untold Story Of Fraud-On-The-Market, Margaret V. Sachs Jan 2015

Superstar Judges As Entrepreneurs: The Untold Story Of Fraud-On-The-Market, Margaret V. Sachs

Scholarly Works

This Article unites two disparate subjects of profound interest to legal scholars. One is fraud-on-the-market, reaffirmed late last term in Erica P. John Fund, Inc. v. Halliburton Co. (Halliburton II). Probably the most important claim in the securities litigation universe, fraud-on-the-market is the sine qua non of almost every securities class action that is filed. The other subject consists of the work of Judges Frank Easterbrook and Richard Posner, the “superstars” of the current federal appellate bench.

My purpose is several-fold: first, to show that fraud-on-the-market’s evolution, up through and culminating in Halliburton II, has been driven in significant measure …


Why Choose? A Response To Rachlinski, Wistrich & Guthrie, Terry A. Maroney Jan 2015

Why Choose? A Response To Rachlinski, Wistrich & Guthrie, Terry A. Maroney

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In "Heart Versus Head," Rachlinski, Guthrie, and Wistrich present experimental findings suggesting that judges sometimes rule on the basis of emotion rather than reason. Though there is much of value in their findings, they have presented a false choice. The experiments do offer strong evidence that judges' decisions can be influenced by the "affect heuristic," insofar as they show that prompting generalized feelings of good/bad and like/dislike can sway legal rulings that ought to be answered entirely on traditionally legalistic grounds. However, the experiments do not speak more broadly to the influence of judicial emotion, which is a far more …


Actual Versus Perceived Performance Of Judges, Theodore Eisenberg, Talia Fisher, Issi Rosen-Zvi Apr 2012

Actual Versus Perceived Performance Of Judges, Theodore Eisenberg, Talia Fisher, Issi Rosen-Zvi

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Judicial Mindsets: The Social Psychology Of Implicit Theories And The Law, Victor D. Quintanilla Jan 2012

Judicial Mindsets: The Social Psychology Of Implicit Theories And The Law, Victor D. Quintanilla

Articles by Maurer Faculty

This article introduces Dr. Carol Dweck’s seminal and significant line of psychological research on the phenomenon of implicit theories and draws on this research as a lens through which we might better understand judicial decision-making. In particular, the article focuses on the implications of two types of implicit theories – whether people believe that phenomena are static and fixed versus dynamic and malleable. By introducing this research, this article aims to forward a research agenda designed to examine how social, contextual, and situational forces influence judicial behavior.

An entity theory reflects the mindset that phenomena are fixed and unlikely to …


Judges, Lawyers, And A Predictive Theory Of Legal Complexity, Benjamin H. Barton Sep 2011

Judges, Lawyers, And A Predictive Theory Of Legal Complexity, Benjamin H. Barton

College of Law Faculty Scholarship

This Article uses public choice theory and the new institutionalism to discuss the incentives, proclivities, and shared backgrounds of lawyers and judges. In America every law-making judge has a single unifying characteristic; each is a former lawyer. This shared background has powerful and unexplored effects on the shape and structure of American law. This Article argues that the common interests, thought-processes, training, and incentives of Judges and lawyers lead inexorably to greater complexity in judge-made law. These same factors lead to the following prediction: judge-created law will be most complex in areas where a) elite lawyers regularly practice; b) judges …


Forum, Federalism, And Free Markets: An Empirical Study Of Judicial Behavior Under The Dormant Commerce Clause Doctrine, Mehmet K. Konar-Steenberg, Anne F. Peterson Jan 2011

Forum, Federalism, And Free Markets: An Empirical Study Of Judicial Behavior Under The Dormant Commerce Clause Doctrine, Mehmet K. Konar-Steenberg, Anne F. Peterson

Faculty Scholarship

This study examines judicial behavior under the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine by drawing on an original database of 459 state and Federal appellate cases decided between 1970 and 2009. The authors use logit regression to show that state judges are more likely to uphold state and local laws against dormant Commerce Clause attack than their Federal judicial counterparts, a result that is consistent with the interstate rivalry issues animating the doctrine. The study also finds that Republican-dominated judicial panels at the state level are more likely to side with tax challengers invoking the dormant Commerce Clause doctrine than are Democratic …


Left, Right, And Center: Strategic Information Acquisition And Diversity In Judicial Panels, Matthew L. Spitzer, Eric L. Talley Jan 2011

Left, Right, And Center: Strategic Information Acquisition And Diversity In Judicial Panels, Matthew L. Spitzer, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This paper develops and analyzes a hierarchical model of judicial review in multimember appellate courts. In our model, judicial panels acquire information endogenously, through the efforts of individual panelists, acting strategically. The resulting equilibria strongly resemble the empirical phenomena collectively known as "panel effects" – and in particular the observed regularity with which ideological diversity on a panel predicts greater moderation in voting behavior (even after controlling for the median voter's preferences). In our model, non-pivotal panel members with ideologies far from the median have the greatest incentive to acquire additional policy-relevant information where no one on a unified panel …


Gender, Race, And Intersectionality On The Federal Appellate Bench., Todd Collins, Laura Moyer Jun 2008

Gender, Race, And Intersectionality On The Federal Appellate Bench., Todd Collins, Laura Moyer

Faculty Scholarship

While theoretical justifications predict that a judge’s gender and race may influence judicial decisions, empirical support for these arguments has been mixed. However, recent increases in judicial diversity necessitate a reexamination of these earlier studies. Rather than examining individual judges on a single characteristic, such as gender or race alone, this research note argues that the intersection of individual characteristics may provide an alternative approach for evaluating the effects of diversity on the federal appellate bench. The results of cohort models examining the joint effects of race and gender suggest that minority female judges are more likely to support criminal …


Judges, Lawyers, And A Predictive Theory Of Legal Complexity, Benjamin H. Barton Jun 2008

Judges, Lawyers, And A Predictive Theory Of Legal Complexity, Benjamin H. Barton

Scholarly Works

This Article uses public choice theory and the new institutionalism to discuss the incentives, proclivities, and shared backgrounds of lawyers and judges. In America every law-making judge has a single unifying characteristic, each is a former lawyer. This shared background has powerful and unexplored effects on the shape and structure of American law. This Article argues that the shared characteristics, thought-processes, training, and incentives of Judges and lawyers lead inexorably to greater complexity in judge-made law. These same factors lead to the following prediction: judge-created law will be most complex in areas where a) elite lawyers regularly practice; b) judges …


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 …


Looking Off The Ball: Constitutional Law And American Politics, Mark A. Graber Jan 2007

Looking Off The Ball: Constitutional Law And American Politics, Mark A. Graber

Faculty Scholarship

“Looking Off the Ball” details how and why constitutional law influences both judicial and public decision making. Treating justices as free to express their partisan commitments may seem to explain Bush v. Gore*, but not the judicial failure to intervene in the other numerous presidential elections in which the candidate favored by most members of the Supreme Court lost. Constitutional norms and standards generate legal agreements among persons who dispute the underlying merits of particular policies under constitutional attack. The norms and standards explain constitutional criticism, why only a small proportion of the political questions that occupy Americans are normally …


The Phantom Philosophy? An Empirical Investigation Of Legal Interpretation, Jason J. Czarnezki Jan 2006

The Phantom Philosophy? An Empirical Investigation Of Legal Interpretation, Jason J. Czarnezki

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article tests a model of judicial decisionmaking that incorporates elements of both the attitudinal model and the legal model, along with measures of institutional and judicial background characteristics such as collegiality and trial court experience. We develop a measure of interpretive philosophy relying primarily on judicial opinions, which we code for certain indicators of traditional interpretive approaches (i.e., the use of interpretive tools). The critical question is whether judges with similar interpretive philosophies are more likely to agree with one another when deciding cases. Our general finding is that ideology and interpretive philosophy are not significant predictors of agreement. …


Judges And Ideology: Public And Academic Debates About Statistical Measures, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise Jan 2005

Judges And Ideology: Public And Academic Debates About Statistical Measures, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Scholars who use empirical methods to study the behavior of judges long have labored in relative obscurity, unknown outside of academic circles (and indeed they only recently have emerged into the mainstream of the legal academy). However, the seclusion of the ivory tower has been breached as public attention has become increasingly focused upon studies that suggest the influence of ideological or partisan variables upon the outcomes of court cases. Over the last few years, the statistical work of scholars on judicial decisionmaking has provoked controversy in the wider legal community and has been enlisted by one side of the …


The Futility Of Appeal: Disciplinary Insights Into The "Affirmance Effect" On The United States Courts Of Appeals, Chris Guthrie, Tracey E. George Jan 2005

The Futility Of Appeal: Disciplinary Insights Into The "Affirmance Effect" On The United States Courts Of Appeals, Chris Guthrie, Tracey E. George

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In contrast to the Supreme Court, which typically reverses the cases it hears, the United States Courts of Appeals almost always affirm the cases that they hear. We set out to explore this affirmance effect on the U.S. Courts of Appeal by using insights drawn from law and economics (i.e., selection theory), political science (i.e., attitudinal theory and new institutionalism), and cognitive psychology (i.e., heuristics and biases, including the status quo and omission biases).


Voting And Electoral Politics In The Wisconsin Supreme Court, Jason J. Czarnezki Jan 2003

Voting And Electoral Politics In The Wisconsin Supreme Court, Jason J. Czarnezki

Elisabeth Haub School of Law Faculty Publications

This Article examines criminal cases decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court over a fifteen-year period in an effort to discern whether judicial elections undercut judicial independence by affecting the ways justices vote. Wisconsin was chosen for this study because the state's mix of appointed and elected judges allows a researcher to control for different judicial selection systems. Specifically, this Article questions whether voting patterns may be affected by a justice's proximity to judicial elections, election margins, and whether a justice was appointed or elected in the initial term, since the governor may appoint a justice to fill a vacancy on …