Empirical Measures of Judicial Performance: An Introduction to the Symposium
14 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2004
Date Written: November 2004
Inspired by the burgeoning empirical literature on the judiciary, the editors of the Florida State University Law Review have solicited some papers from leading scholars and federal courts of appeals judges, asking them to address the topic of empirical measures of judicial performance. The papers in this "Symposium on Empirical Measures of Judicial Performance" address empirical measures of judicial performance from a variety of methodological perspectives, but as this Foreword suggests, they can roughly be organized around three basic themes. First, many of the papers critique the empirical enterprise itself and especially the tournament strategy for evaluating judges, although these papers also raise important issues for future empirical study of judges. Second, many of the papers in the Symposium propose new ways of operationalizing the empirical study of judicial performance or present fresh new empirical evidence about judges and courts. Third, some of the papers focus on the behavioral and institutional implications or empirical studies of judges and courts. As the papers in the Symposium would indicate, the empirical tournament has inspired some important advances in the discourse about measurement of performance in the context of the judiciary and its relevance to the selection of judges and the judicial process. While efforts to measure judicial performance empirically simultaneously revive many old controversies and presents new issues, its debates will be certain to continue as long as we have data, judges, and courts.
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