Judicial Wisdom: An Introductory Empirical Account and Research Agenda
30 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 15, 2012
We present the first empirical analysis of “judicial wisdom”: what it means to be a “wise judge.” We surveyed 40 federal judges; half listed characteristics of a “wise” judge and, to compare, half listed characteristics of an “excellent” judge. The factor models of judicial wisdom and of judicial excellence demonstrate the two concepts’ distinct nature. Judicial wisdom seems comprised of three traditional wisdom factors and one factor specific to the judicial role. We discuss the substantive models of judicial “wisdom” and “excellence,” and legal and policy implications, including the possibility of teaching judicial wisdom. We also raise directions for future research.
Keywords: wisdom, judges, phronesis, decision-making, jurisprudence, empirical research, psychology
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