Judicial Auditing

34 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 1998

See all articles by Matthew L. Spitzer

Matthew L. Spitzer

Northwestern University School of Law

Eric L. Talley

Columbia University - School of Law; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Date Written: June 1999


This paper presents a simple framework for analyzing a hierarchical system of judicial auditing. We concentrate on (what we perceive to be) the two principal reasons that courts and/or legislatures tend to scrutinize the decisions of lower-echelon actors: imprecision and ideological bias. In comparing these two reasons, we illustrate how each may yield systematically distinct auditing and reversal behaviors. While auditing for imprecision tends to bring about even-handed review/reversal, auditing for political bias tends to be significantly more one-sided. Examples of these tendencies can be found in a number of legal applications, including administrative law, constitutional law, and interpretive theories of jurisprudence. Moreover, our analysis suggests that political "diversity" among initial decision-makers (in addition to its other laudable goals) may be an important and generally underappreciated means for economizing on judicial administrative costs and easing the workload burdens on upper-echelon actors.

Suggested Citation

Spitzer, Matthew L. and Talley, Eric L., Judicial Auditing (June 1999). USC CLEO Research Paper No. 98-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=140512 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.140512

Matthew L. Spitzer

Northwestern University School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
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312-503-8434 (Phone)

Eric L. Talley (Contact Author)

Columbia University - School of Law ( email )

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New York, NY 10025
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.erictalley.com

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI) ( email )

c/o the Royal Academies of Belgium
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1000 Brussels

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