In The Pioneers of Judicial Behavior, prominent political scientists critically examine the contributions to the field of public law of the pioneering scholars of judicial behavior: C. Hermann Pritchett, Glendon Schubert, S. Sidney Ulmer, Harold J. Spaeth, Joseph Tanenhaus, Beverly Blair Cook, Walter F. Murphy, J. Woodward Howard, David J. Danelski, David Rohde, Edward S. Corwin, Alpheus Thomas Mason, Robert G. McCloskey, Robert A. Dahl, and Martin Shapiro.
Unlike past studies that have traced the emergence and growth of the field of judicial studies, The Pioneers of Judicial Behavior accounts for the emergence and exploration of three current theoretical approaches to the study of judicial behavior--attitudinal, strategic, and historical-institutionalist--and shows how the research of these foundational scholars has contributed to contemporary debates about how to conceptualize judges as policy makers. Chapters utilize correspondence of and interviews with some early scholars, and provide a format to connect the concerns and controversies of the first political scientists of law and courts to contemporary challenges and methodological debates among today's judicial scholars. The volume's purpose in looking back is to look forward: to contribute to an ecumenical research agenda on judicial decision making, and, ultimately, to the generation of a unified, general theory of judicial behavior.
The Pioneers of Judicial Behavior will be of interest to graduate students in the law and courts field, political scientists interested in the philosophy of social science and the history of the discipline, legal practitioners and researchers, and political commentators interested in academic theorizing about public policy making.
Nancy L. Maveety is Associate Professor of Political Science, Tulane University.
From local trial courts to the United States Supreme Court, judges' decisions affect the fates of individual litigants and the fate of the nation as a whole. Scholars have long discussed and debated explanations of judicial behavior. This book examines the major issues in the debates over how best to understand judicial behavior and assesses what we actually know about how judges decide cases. It concludes that we are far from understanding why judges choose the positions they take in court.
Lawrence Baum considers three issues in examining judicial behavior. First, the author considers the balance between the judges' interest in the outcome of particular cases and their interest in other goals such as personal popularity and lighter workloads. Second, Baum considers the relative importance of good law and good policy as bases for judges' choices. Finally Baum looks at the extent to which judges act strategically, choosing their own positions after taking into account the positions that their fellow judges and other policy makers might adopt. Baum argues that the evidence on each of these issues is inconclusive and that there remains considerable room for debate about the sources of judges' decisions. Baum concludes that this lack of resolution is not the result of weaknesses in the scholarship but from the difficulty in explaining human behavior. He makes a plea for diversity in research.
This book will be of interest to political scientists and scholars in law and courts as well as attorneys who are interested in understanding judges as decision makers and who want to understand what we can learn from scholarly research about judicial behavior.
Lawrence Baum is Professor of Political Science, Ohio State University.