How Judges Judge
Corey Rayburn Yung
University of Kansas School of Law
February 9, 2011
Northwestern University Law Review, Forthcoming
This Article offers a new approach to understanding judicial behavior which recognizes judicial heterogeneity, behavior along different dimensions, and interconnectedness among judges at different levels within the judiciary. As a result, it calls into question those fundamental premises of the predominant theories of judicial decisionmaking utilized by legal and political science scholars. This study utilizes a unique dataset of over 30,000 judicial votes from eleven federal courts of appeals in 2008. Utilizing independent measures of judicial activism, ideology, independence, and partisanship, statistical cluster analysis identifies nine distinct judging styles: Trailblazing, Consensus Building, Stalwart, Regulating, Steadfast, Collegial, Incrementalist, Minimalist, and Error Correcting. These judicial style types offer a fuller and more accurate account of judicial behavior than any of the prior models utilized by scholars.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 64
Keywords: Empirical, Law and Courts, Judges, Decisionmaking, Models, Courts of Appeals, Federal CourtsAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 11, 2011 ; Last revised: April 12, 2012
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