Ideology, Collegiality, and the D.C. Circuit: A Reply to Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards

47 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2001

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In an essay published in the October 1998 issue of the Virginia Law Review, Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards responds to my article analyzing the role of ideology in the D.C. Circuit's decisions concerning environmental regulation. It is somewhat sobering when one of the Nation's leading federal appellate judges criticizes one's work with great vehemence. Nonetheless, as this reply makes plain, Judge Edwards is simply wrong with respect to each of the numerous criticisms that he levels against my work. Not a single one of his arguments weakens in any way the force of my findings. The discussion proceeds as follows. Part I summarizes the principal claims made in my article. Part II responds to the six sets of objections (each of which contains many independent components) that Judge Edwards levels against my methodology. Part III takes issue with arguments that Judge Edwards advances in support of his account of how the D.C. Circuit decides cases. Part IV explains why Judge Edwards' views concerning the role of empirical studies of the judicial function are misguided. This essay thus unfolds on two levels. First, it provides a methodical and detailed response to each of Judge Edwards' criticisms of my work. This response ought to be of interest not only to individuals who are trying to evaluate the validity of these criticisms but also to future empirical researchers, who might benefit from the discussion of the various methodological choices. Second, the essay is intended to cast some further light on the processes of adjudication, particularly in multimember courts, and on the use of empirical methods to study the judicial function. These issues are central to the work of a broader audience.

Suggested Citation

Revesz, Richard L., Ideology, Collegiality, and the D.C. Circuit: A Reply to Chief Judge Harry T. Edwards. Available at SSRN:

Richard L. Revesz (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

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