Reconsidering Judicial Preferences
Posted: 15 May 2013
Date Written: May 2013
Among political scientists, not only is it uncontroversial to say that judges seek to etch their political values into law; it would be near heresy to suggest otherwise. And yet this article does just that because research conducted by scholars (mostly outside of political science) has demonstrated that the policy goal is not the only motivation; it may not even be dominant for many judges. The evidence is now so strong that it poses a serious challenge to the extremely (un)realist(ic) conception of judicial behavior that has dominated the study of law and legal institutions for generations. In addition to reviewing this evidence, we offer a more realistic conception of judicial motivations and suggest how different approaches to the study of courts can contribute to this new avenue of research.
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