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Multiple Constraint Satisfaction in Judging


Jennifer K. Robbennolt


University of Illinois College of Law

Robert MacCoun


Stanford Law School

John M. Darley


Princeton University

May 14, 2008

Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 08-22
UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 11333184

Abstract:     
Different models of judicial decision making highlight particular goals. Traditional legal theory posits that in making decisions judges strive to reach the correct legal decision as dictated by precedent. Attitudinal and strategic models focuses on the ways in which judges further their preferred policies. The managerial model emphasizes the increasing caseload pressures that judges at all levels face. Each model accurately captures some of what every judge does some of the time, but a sophisticated understanding of judicial decision making should explicitly incorporate the notion that judges simultaneously attempt to further numerous, disparate, and often conflicting, objectives. We offer a preliminary account of a more psychologically plausible account of judicial cognition and motivation, based on principles of goal management in a constraint satisfaction network.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

Keywords: Judging; Judicial decision making

JEL Classification: K10, K20, K30, K40

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Date posted: May 15, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Robbennolt, Jennifer K. and MacCoun, Robert and Darley, John M., Multiple Constraint Satisfaction in Judging (May 14, 2008). Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 08-22; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 11333184. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1133184 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1133184

Contact Information

Jennifer K. Robbennolt (Contact Author)
University of Illinois College of Law ( email )
504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-6623 (Phone)
Robert MacCoun
Stanford Law School ( email )
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

John M. Darley
Princeton University ( email )
1-N-17 Green Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States
609-258-3000 (Phone)
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