How do judges decide cases? Lawyers and scholars have long debated this question, which has important implications for normative theories about how judges should decide cases. This seminar will examine these positive and normative accounts of judging in a variety of contexts, seeking to integrate social science research with a lawyer’s internal perspective on the judicial process. The seminar will begin with the dominant theories of judging in legal scholarship: formalism, skepticism, and institutionalism. It will then turn to the dominant models in political science: the legal, attitudinal, and strategic models. Finally, the seminar will discuss implications of these theories of judicial behavior for topics such as judicial review, statutory interpretation, interactions among judges on collegial courts, the judicial confirmation process, and the institutional design of courts.
*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.
**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.