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Judicial decision making

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Extralegal Bias In The United States Military In Sexual Assault Cases, Taylor F. Blackston Jan 2023

Extralegal Bias In The United States Military In Sexual Assault Cases, Taylor F. Blackston

Electronic Theses and Dissertations

By evaluating the case recommendations following a preliminary hearing from military sexual assault cases from fiscal years 2016-2018, this study aims to assess whether or not extralegal factors are influencing decisions of case recommendations of assigned convening authorities. Using secondary data from the Department of Defense’s annual reports on sexual assault in the United States military (n=5,171), this study aims to answer the following questions: Do extralegal factors contribute to convening authorities’ recommendations following Article 32 hearings? If so, what extralegal factors contribute to convening authority's decision on non-judicial hearing recommendations? The results of the following analyses identified several extralegal …


Queer Eyes Don't Sympathize: An Empirical Investigation Of Lgb Identity And Judicial Decision Making, Jared Ham, Chan Tov Mcnarrara Jan 2020

Queer Eyes Don't Sympathize: An Empirical Investigation Of Lgb Identity And Judicial Decision Making, Jared Ham, Chan Tov Mcnarrara

Cornell Law Review

Do Lesbian, gay, and bisexual judicial decision makers differ from their heterosexual counterparts? Over the past decade much has been said about queer judges, with many suggesting that they cannot be impartial in cases involving LGBTQ+ parties or religious interests. To investigate these questions, this Note presents the findings of the first empirical analysis of the decision making of lesbian, gay, and bisexual judges in the United States.

Examining employment-discrimination litigation, this Note finds no evidence that a judge's sexual orientation affects the outcome of the cases they decide on the merits. Specifically, looking to one year of data from …


Feminist Judging Matters: How Feminist Theory And Methods Affect The Process Of Judgment, Linda L. Berger, Bridget J. Crawford, Kathryn M. Stanchi Jan 2018

Feminist Judging Matters: How Feminist Theory And Methods Affect The Process Of Judgment, Linda L. Berger, Bridget J. Crawford, Kathryn M. Stanchi

Scholarly Works

Professor Linda Berger rejoins her Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Opinions of the United States Supreme Court coauthors in this essay presenting feminism as the foundation for a developing form of rich, complex, and practical legal scholarship-the lens and the means through which we may approach and resolve many legal problems. First, this essay explores the intellectual foundations of feminist legal theory and situates the United States and international feminist judgments projects within that scholarly tradition. It next considers how the feminist judgments projects move beyond traditional academic scholarship to bridge the gap between the real-world practice of law and feminist theory. …


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.


Rethinking Critical Mass In The Federal Appellate Courts., Laura Moyer Sep 2016

Rethinking Critical Mass In The Federal Appellate Courts., Laura Moyer

Laura Moyer

This article draws from critical mass studies of gender in other political institutions to inform an application to the US Courts of Appeals. The results demonstrate the utility of considering court-level aspects of diversity. As mixed-sex panels become more common within a circuit, both male and female judges increasingly support plaintiffs in civil rights claims, though the magnitude of the effect is larger for women. The presence of a female chief judge is also positively associated with pro-plaintiff decisions by men and women in sex discrimination cases.


Online Case Resolution Systems: Enhancing Access, Fairness, Accuracy, And Efficiency, Maximilian A. Bulinski, J.J. Prescott May 2016

Online Case Resolution Systems: Enhancing Access, Fairness, Accuracy, And Efficiency, Maximilian A. Bulinski, J.J. Prescott

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

Online case resolution (OCR) systems have the potential to dramatically increase access to our justice system. Part I introduces the concept of an OCR system, how it might work in practice, and its likely impact on courts and citizens. Part II argues that OCR systems can lower many of the barriers to going to court by reducing the need for face-to-face resolution of disputes; cutting the amount of time needed for hearings; mitigating litigant confusion and fear; allowing asynchronous scheduling that can accommodate work and child-care schedules; and offering a more reliable and easier-to-use means for litigants to voice their …


What If?: Human Experience And Supreme Court Decision Making On Criminal Justice, Christopher E. Smith Jan 2016

What If?: Human Experience And Supreme Court Decision Making On Criminal Justice, Christopher E. Smith

Marquette Law Review

None


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 …


Charting The Influences On The Judicial Mind: An Empirical Study Of Judicial Reasoning, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise, Andrew P. Morriss Jul 2015

Charting The Influences On The Judicial Mind: An Empirical Study Of Judicial Reasoning, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise, Andrew P. Morriss

Andrew P. Morriss

In 1988, hundreds of federal district judges were suddenly confronted with the need to render a decision on the constitutionality of the Sentencing Reform Act and the newly promulgated criminal Sentencing Guidelines. Never before has a question of such importance and involving such significant issues of constitutional law mandated the immediate and simultaneous attention of such a large segment of the federal trial bench. Accordingly, this event provides an archetypal model for exploring the influence of social background, ideology, judicial role and institution, and other factors on judicial decisionmaking. Based upon a unique set of written decisions involving an identical …


Can Judges Make Reliable Numeric Judgments? Distorted Damages And Skewed Sentences, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich, Chris Guthrie Apr 2015

Can Judges Make Reliable Numeric Judgments? Distorted Damages And Skewed Sentences, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Andrew J. Wistrich, Chris Guthrie

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

In a series of studies involving over six hundred trial judges in three countries, we demonstrate that trial judges' civil damage awards and criminal sentences are subject to influences that make them erratic. We found that the presence of misleading numeric reference points (or "anchors") affected judges' decisions in a series of hypothetical cases. Specifically, judges imposed shorter sentences when assigning sentences in months rather than in years; awarded higher amounts of compensatory damages when informed of a cap on damage awards; imposed different sentences depending upon the sequence in which criminal cases were presented to them; and were influenced …


Charting The Influences On The Judicial Mind: An Empirical Study Of Judicial Reasoning, Gregory Sisk, Michael Heise, Andrew Morriss Feb 2015

Charting The Influences On The Judicial Mind: An Empirical Study Of Judicial Reasoning, Gregory Sisk, Michael Heise, Andrew Morriss

Michael Heise

In 1988, hundreds of federal district judges were suddenly confronted with the need to render a decision on the constitutionality of the Sentencing Reform Act and the newly promulgated criminal Sentencing Guidelines. Never before has a question of such importance and involving such significant issues of constitutional law mandated the immediate and simultaneous attention of such a large segment of the federal trial bench. Accordingly, this event provides an archetypal model for exploring the influence of social background, ideology, judicial role and institution, and other factors on judicial decisionmaking. Based upon a unique set of written decisions involving an identical …


Searching For The Soul Of Judicial Decisionmaking: An Empirical Study Of Religious Freedom Decisions, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise, Andrew P. Morriss Feb 2015

Searching For The Soul Of Judicial Decisionmaking: An Empirical Study Of Religious Freedom Decisions, Gregory C. Sisk, Michael Heise, Andrew P. Morriss

Michael Heise

During the past half century, constitutional theories of religious freedom have been in a state of great controversy, perpetual transformation, and consequent uncertainty. Given the vitality of religious faith for most Americans and the vigor of the enduring debate on the proper role of religious belief and practice in public society, a searching exploration of the influences upon judges in making decisions that uphold or reject claims implicating religious freedom is long overdue. Many thoughtful contributions have been to the debate about whether judges should allow their religious beliefs to surface in the exercise of their judicial role. Yet much …


Politics And The Judiciary: The Influence Of Judicial Background On Case Outcomes, Orley Ashenfelter, Theodore Eisenberg, Stewart J. Schwab Feb 2015

Politics And The Judiciary: The Influence Of Judicial Background On Case Outcomes, Orley Ashenfelter, Theodore Eisenberg, Stewart J. Schwab

Stewart J Schwab

It is widely believed that the background and worldview of judges influence their decisions. This article uses the fact that judges are assigned their cases randomly to assess the effect of judicial background on the outcome of cases from the day-to-day docket in three federal trial courts. Unlike the political science findings of ideological influence in published opinions, we find little evidence that judges differ in their decisions with respect to the mass of case outcomes. Characteristics of the judges or the political party of the judge's appointing president are not significant predictors of judicial decisions.


Impartiality In Judicial Ethics: A Jurisprudential Analysis, W. Bradley Wendel Feb 2015

Impartiality In Judicial Ethics: A Jurisprudential Analysis, W. Bradley Wendel

W. Bradley Wendel

No abstract provided.


Empirical Doctrine, Jessie Allen Jan 2015

Empirical Doctrine, Jessie Allen

Articles

We can observe and measure how legal decision makers use formal legal authorities, but there is no way to empirically test the determinative capacity of legal doctrine itself. Yet, discussions of empirical studies of judicial behavior sometimes conflate judges’ attention to legal rules with legal rules determining outcomes. Doctrinal determinacy is not the same thing as legal predictability. The extent to which legal outcomes are predictable in given contexts is surely testable empirically. But the idea that doctrine’s capacity to produce or limit those outcomes can be measured empirically is fundamentally misguided. The problem is that to measure doctrinal determinacy, …


Inside The Bankruptcy Judge's Mind, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Dec 2014

Inside The Bankruptcy Judge's Mind, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

In this paper, we extend our prior work on generalist judges to explore whether specialization leads to superior judicial decision making. To do so, we report the results of a study of federal bankruptcy judges. In one prior study of bankruptcy judges, Ted Eisenberg reported evidence suggesting that bankruptcy judges, like generalist judges, are susceptible to the "self-serving" or "egocentric" bias when making judgments. Here, we report evidence showing that bankruptcy judges are vulnerable to anchoring and framing effects, but appear largely unaffected by the omission bias, a debtor's race, a debtor's apology, and "terror management" or "mortality salience."' Because …


Contrition In The Courtroom: Do Apologies Affect Adjudication?, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Dec 2014

Contrition In The Courtroom: Do Apologies Affect Adjudication?, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

Apologies usually help to repair social relationships and appease aggrieved parties. Previous research has demonstrated that in legal settings, apologies influence how litigants and juries evaluate both civil and criminal defendants. Judges, however, routinely encounter apologies offered for instrumental reasons, such as to reduce a civil damage award or fine, or to shorten a criminal sentence. Frequent exposure to insincere apologies might make judges suspicious of or impervious to apologies. In a series of experimental studies with judges as research participants, we find that in some criminal settings, apologies can induce judges to be more lenient, but overall, apologizing to …


Defending The Rule Of Law In An Era Of Cultural Fragmentation And Cynicism, David Barnhizer Apr 2014

Defending The Rule Of Law In An Era Of Cultural Fragmentation And Cynicism, David Barnhizer

David Barnhizer

Abandonment of a belief in the objectivity of knowledge, along with the postmodernist assertion that language, truth and power are intertwined has left us with a sense of profound uncertainty. This pervasive doubt extends to virtually all realms, including law. The sense of uncertainty causes us to struggle over the application of indeterminate rules written in indeterminate language applied to indeterminate contexts. At the core of our uncertainty in the context of the perceived integrity of the Rule of Law is that once our most important legal doctrines were disconnected from any belief in divine or natural sources of right …


Contrition In The Courtroom: Do Apologies Affect Adjudication?, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich Jul 2013

Contrition In The Courtroom: Do Apologies Affect Adjudication?, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski, Chris Guthrie, Andrew J. Wistrich

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

Apologies usually help to repair social relationships and appease aggrieved parties. Previous research has demonstrated that in legal settings, apologies influence how litigants and juries evaluate both civil and criminal defendants. Judges, however, routinely encounter apologies offered for instrumental reasons, such as to reduce a civil damage award or fine, or to shorten a criminal sentence. Frequent exposure to insincere apologies might make judges suspicious of or impervious to apologies. In a series of experimental studies with judges as research participants, we find that in some criminal settings, apologies can induce judges to be more lenient, but overall, apologizing to …


A Revised View Of The Judicial Hunch, Linda L. Berger Jan 2013

A Revised View Of The Judicial Hunch, Linda L. Berger

Linda L. Berger

Judicial intuition is misunderstood. Labeled as cognitive bias, it is held responsible for stereotypes of character and credibility. Framed as mental shortcut, it is blamed for overconfident and mistaken predictions. Depicted as flashes of insight, it takes credit for unearned wisdom. The true value of judicial intuition falls somewhere in between. When judges are making judgments about people (he looks trustworthy) or the future (she will be the better parent), the critics are correct: intuition based on past experience may close minds. Once a judge recognizes a familiar pattern in a few details, she may fail to see the whole …


Rethinking Critical Mass In The Federal Appellate Courts., Laura Moyer Jan 2013

Rethinking Critical Mass In The Federal Appellate Courts., Laura Moyer

Faculty Scholarship

This article draws from critical mass studies of gender in other political institutions to inform an application to the US Courts of Appeals. The results demonstrate the utility of considering court-level aspects of diversity. As mixed-sex panels become more common within a circuit, both male and female judges increasingly support plaintiffs in civil rights claims, though the magnitude of the effect is larger for women. The presence of a female chief judge is also positively associated with pro-plaintiff decisions by men and women in sex discrimination cases.


Preventing Sex-Offender Recidivism Through Therapeutic Jurisprudence Approaches And Specialized Community Integration, Heather Cucolo, Michael L. Perlin Jan 2012

Preventing Sex-Offender Recidivism Through Therapeutic Jurisprudence Approaches And Specialized Community Integration, Heather Cucolo, Michael L. Perlin

Articles & Chapters

The public’s panic about the fear of recidivism if adjudicated sex offenders are ever to be released to the community has not subsided, despite the growing amount of information and statistically-reliable data signifying a generally low risk of re-offense. The established case law upholding sex offender civil commitment and containment statutes has rejected challenges of unconstitutionality, and continues to be dominated by punitive undertones. We have come to learn that the tools used to assess offenders for risk and civil commitment are often inaccurate and that meaningful treatment for this population is often unavailable and ineffective. Yet, society continues to …


“Testing” Fuller’S Forms And Limits: A Brief Response To Oldfather, Bockhorst, & Dimmer, Scott R. Bauries Jan 2012

“Testing” Fuller’S Forms And Limits: A Brief Response To Oldfather, Bockhorst, & Dimmer, Scott R. Bauries

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

In Triangulating Judicial Responsiveness, Chad Oldfather, Joseph Bockhorst, and Brian Dimmer give us a methodology by which we can empirically assess (among other things) the effects that argumentation has on judicial decision making. Unlike the vast majority of empirical legal scholarship of judging, the authors do not use this methodology in their current study to compare “legalist” explanations of judging with “realist” explanations of judging. Rather, the study operates almost entirely within the “legalist” frame. This is a welcome development for many reasons, one on which this Response focuses—the authors’ methodology illustrates a way of scientifically “testing” descriptive legal …


Judges' Gender And Employment Discrimination Cases: Emerging Evidence-Based Empirical Conclusions, Pat K. Chew Jan 2011

Judges' Gender And Employment Discrimination Cases: Emerging Evidence-Based Empirical Conclusions, Pat K. Chew

Articles

This article surveys the emerging empirical research on the relationship between the judges' gender and the results in employment discrimination cases.


Understanding Judicial Decision Making In Immigration Cases At The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Margaret S. Williams, Anna O. Law Mar 2010

Understanding Judicial Decision Making In Immigration Cases At The U.S. Courts Of Appeals, Margaret S. Williams, Anna O. Law

Margaret S. Williams

Immigration is an increasingly important area of decision making for federal judges. The recent increase in appeals of immigration cases to the courts of appeals raises the question whether judges deciding these cases behave in ways consistent with the extant attitudinal literature, or if other factors such as case characteristics and institutional concerns weigh more heavily on the decision making of judges. It is possible, for example, that the country of origin for the alien or the panel on which a judge serves also influence her decision making. Using an original dataset of immigration cases drawn from the Third, Fifth, …


Citation To Legislative History: Empirical Evidence On Positive Political And Contextual Theories Of Judicial Decision Making, Michael B. Abramowicz, Emerson H. Tiller Jan 2009

Citation To Legislative History: Empirical Evidence On Positive Political And Contextual Theories Of Judicial Decision Making, Michael B. Abramowicz, Emerson H. Tiller

GW Law Faculty Publications & Other Works

We present empirical evidence suggesting that political context—judicial hierarchy and judicial panel dynamics—influences an authoring judge’s use of legislative history. Specifically, we find that to the extent that political ideology matters, a district court judge’s choice of legislative history is influenced, albeit mostly, by (1) the political makeup of the overseeing circuit court and (2) the political characteristics of a judge’s panel colleagues, as well as by the circuit court as a whole. These factors matter more than the authoring judge’s own political-ideological connection to the legislators. Put differently, an authoring judge will have a greater tendency to cite legislative …


The Effects Of Different Forms Of Risk Communication On Judicial Decision Making, Richard E. Redding, John Dolores Dec 2008

The Effects Of Different Forms Of Risk Communication On Judicial Decision Making, Richard E. Redding, John Dolores

Richard E. Redding

When mental health experts provide information to courts on the results of a risk assessment conducted on a defendant or patient, they engage in “risk communication.” We examined the effects of four different forms of risk communication (prediction, categorical, risk factors/risk management, or hybrid) on judges’ (n = 253) perceptions of risk assessment evidence introduced in a case where they must decide whether to release from the hospital an individual found not guilty by reason of insanity. Judges who received information in the risk factors/risk management form were more likely to release the patient than were those who received prediction …


Impartiality In Judicial Ethics: A Jurisprudential Analysis, W. Bradley Wendel Jan 2008

Impartiality In Judicial Ethics: A Jurisprudential Analysis, W. Bradley Wendel

Cornell Law Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


Straddling The Fence Between Truth And Pretense: The Role Of Law And Preference In Judicial Decision Making And The Future Of Judicial Independence, Charles G. Geyh Jan 2008

Straddling The Fence Between Truth And Pretense: The Role Of Law And Preference In Judicial Decision Making And The Future Of Judicial Independence, Charles G. Geyh

Articles by Maurer Faculty

No abstract provided.


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 …