Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

The Hidden 'Judiciary': An Empirical Examination of Executive Branch Justice

56 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2009  

Chris Guthrie

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

Cornell Law School

Andrew J. Wistrich

California Central District Court

Date Written: April 7, 2009


Administrative law judges attract little scholarly attention, yet they decide a large fraction of all civil disputes. In this Article, we demonstrate that these executive branch judges, like their counterparts in the judicial branch, tend to make predominantly intuitive rather than predominantly deliberative decisions. This finding sheds new light on executive branch justice by suggesting that judicial intuition, not judicial independence, is the most significant challenge facing these important judicial officers.

Keywords: Judges, ALI, Decision-making, Intuition, Deliberation, Heuristic and biases

Suggested Citation

Guthrie, Chris and Rachlinski , Jeffrey J. and Wistrich, Andrew J., The Hidden 'Judiciary': An Empirical Examination of Executive Branch Justice (April 7, 2009). Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 09-12; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 09-09; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-010. Available at SSRN: or

Chris Guthrie (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-322-6823 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)

Jeffrey Rachlinski

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-5878 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

Andrew Wistrich

California Central District Court ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90012
United States

Paper statistics

Abstract Views