The Strategic Analysis of Judicial Decisions
Washington University in Saint Louis - School of Law
Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law
December 1, 2010
Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 6, pp. 341-358, 2010
Since the 1990s, there has been an explosion of empirical and theoretical work dedicated to advancing strategic accounts of law and legal institutions. Reviewing this extensive literature could be accomplished in multiple ways. We chose an approach that underscores a major contribution of strategic accounts: that they have forced scholars to think about the interdependent - i.e., strategic - nature of judicial decisions. On strategic accounts, in other words, judges do not make decisions in a vacuum, but rather take into account the preferences and likely actions of other relevant actors, including their colleagues, their judicial superiors, and members of the other branches of government. After defining strategic analysis and how it differs from other approaches to judicial decisions, we examine the literature on the forms of strategic behavior in which (preference-maximizing) judges engage when interacting with these three sets of actors.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Date posted: November 14, 2010 ; Last revised: November 20, 2010