The Realism of Judges Past and Present
Brian Z. Tamanaha
Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law
Cleveland State Law Review, Vol. 56, 2008
St. John's Legal Studies Research Paper No. 07-0085
Political scientists regularly assert that judges are deluded or deceptive about the nature of judicial decision making. This article shows, to the contrary, that for more than a century judges have candidly expressed a balanced realism about judging. Judges admit that sometimes they must make law. Judges admit that law is sometimes uncertain. Judges admit that their personal values can have an influence on their legal decisions. All of these limitations are inherent to law and to judges as human decision makers. Judges insist that despite these limitations, their decisions are substantially determined by the law. This article demonstrates that judges have much to say about judging that is reliable and insightful.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 15Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: October 7, 2008 ; Last revised: January 10, 2009
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