Supreme Convolution: What the Capital Cases Teach Us About Supreme Court Decision-Making

37 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2015  

Evan J. Mandery

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Zachary Baron Shemtob

Unaffiliated Authors - Independent

Date Written: 2013

Abstract

Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976), and its accompanying cases, shaped the modem death penalty. The authors interviewed more than fifty lawyers, law clerks, and academics who were involved in the litigation and decision of Gregg and its predecessor, Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972). This research is the basis for Prof. Mandery's book, A Wild Justice. We present it here as part of a discussion of judicial decision-making and as evidence of the limitations of conventional legal research. We argue that only a mixed jurisprudential model can explain the individual Justices' behavior in Gregg. We further argue that conventional legal research, with its emphasis on published judicial opinions and consideration of the Supreme Court as a monolithic entity, is inherently conservative and unhelpful.

Keywords: Jurisprudence; Capital Punishment

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Mandery, Evan J. and Shemtob, Zachary Baron, Supreme Convolution: What the Capital Cases Teach Us About Supreme Court Decision-Making (2013). New England Law Review, Vol. 48, 2013-2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2664783

Evan J. Mandery

CUNY, John Jay College of Criminal Justice ( email )

695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States

Zachary Baron Shemtob (Contact Author)

Unaffiliated Authors - Independent ( email )

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