Judicial Systems

Interpreting the Supreme Court: Finding Meaning in the Justices’ Personal Experiences

Written by: Amy Howe

Abstract At his 2004 confirmation hearing, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. famously compared the role of a Supreme Court Justice to that of a baseball umpire and promised “to remember that it’s my job to call balls and strikes.” Roberts likely intended this to mean that he would serve as a neutral arbiter of […]

Jonathan Remy Nash, Expertise and Opinion Assignment on the Courts of Appeals: A Preliminary Investigation

This Article examines the role of expertise in judicial opinion assignment and offers four contributions: First, this Article develops a general theory of opinion assignment on multimember courts. Second, this Article uses that theory to predict how expertise might influence opinion assignment. Third, because the theory advanced in this Article suggests that the courts of […]

Anne R. Traum, Using Outcomes to Reframe Guilty Plea Adjudication

The Supreme Court’s 2012 decisions in Lafler v. Cooper and Missouri v. Frye lay the groundwork for a new approach to judicial oversight of guilty pleas that considers outcomes. These cases confirm that courts possess robust authority to protect defendants’ Sixth Amendment right to the effective assistance of counsel and that plea outcomes are particularly […]

Kevin J. Lynch, The Lock-in Effect of Preliminary Injunctions

One important bias economists and psychologists have identified is the lock-in effect. The lock-in effect causes a decision maker who must revisit an earlier decision to be locked in to that earlier decision. The effect is particularly pronounced where the earlier decision led to the investment of resources that cannot be recovered. Although lock-in does […]

Charles Gardner Geyh, The Dimensions of Judicial Impartiality

Scholars have traditionally analyzed judicial impartiality piecemeal, in disconnected debates on discrete topics. As a consequence, current understandings of judicial impartiality are balkanized and muddled. This Article seeks to reconceptualize judicial impartiality comprehensively, across contexts. In an era when “we are all legal realists now,” perfect impartiality—the complete absence of bias or prejudice—is at most […]

F. Andrew Hessick & Jathan P. McLaughlin, Judicial Logrolling

In the federal judicial system, multiple judges hear cases on appeal. Although assigning cases to multiple judges provides a number of benefits, it also generates the potential for conflict. Because each judge has his own set of preferences and values, judges on appellate panels often disagree with each other. Judges currently resolve these disagreements by […]