Charting the Influences on the Judicial Mind: An Empirical Study of Judicial Reasoning

124 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2014

See all articles by Gregory C. Sisk

Gregory C. Sisk

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota)

Michael Heise

Cornell Law School

Andrew P. Morriss

Texas A&M School of Innovation; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: November 1, 1998

Abstract

In 1988, hundreds of federal district judges were suddenly confronted with the need to render a decision on the constitutionality of the Sentencing Reform Act and the newly promulgated criminal Sentencing Guidelines. Never before has a question of such importance and involving such significant issues of constitutional law mandated the immediate and simultaneous attention of such a large segment of the federal trial bench. Accordingly, this event provides an archetypal model for exploring the influence of social background, ideology, judicial role and institution, and other factors on judicial decisionmaking. Based upon a unique set of written decisions involving an identical legal problem, the authors have produced an unprecedented empirical study of judicial reasoning in action. By exploiting this treasure trove of data, the authors have looked deeper into the judicial mind and observed the emergence of influences upon the manner in which a judge examined the constitutional issues, adopted a constitutional theory, and engaged in legal reasoning.

Keywords: Judicial decision making, public choice theory, empirical analysis, sentencing

Suggested Citation

Sisk, Gregory C. and Heise, Michael and Morriss, Andrew P., Charting the Influences on the Judicial Mind: An Empirical Study of Judicial Reasoning (November 1, 1998). New York University Law Review, Vol. 73, No. 5, 1998. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2447727

Gregory C. Sisk

University of St. Thomas School of Law (Minnesota) ( email )

MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN Minnesota 55403-2005
United States
651-962-4892 (Phone)

Michael Heise

Cornell Law School ( email )

310 Myron Taylor Hall
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-0069 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

Andrew P. Morriss (Contact Author)

Texas A&M School of Innovation ( email )

1249 TAMU / 645 Lamar St.
College Station, TX 77843
United States

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center ( email )

2048 Analysis Drive
Suite A
Bozeman, MT 59718
United States

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