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Friday, May 16, 2003

Mapping the Space of Judicial Attitudes Department
In several posts on Legal Theory Blog, I've proposed a two dimensional mapping of judicial attitudes. The first dimension is judicial philosophy (formalism versus realism) and the second dimension is political ideology (left versus right). Matthew Thomas writes with an interesting suggestion:Here is Matthew's diagram:


Matthew continues:Yes and No
Yes, if perfect formalist juding were possible, then as judges grow more formalist, their decisions will converge on the same outcomes in the cases they decide. But, this convergence does not map onto a left/right political spectrum. The outcomes reached by formalist outcomes will be preferred by the left in some cases and the right in others. Moreover, the judges themselves wills still have political ideologies. If we assume that perfect formalism is not possible, i.e. that ideology will affect the decisions of judges who attempt to rely on formalist methodologies, then we would expect that even the most formalist judges with different political ideologies will reach different outcomes in different cases. So in the real world we would not expect complete convergence in outcomes.

posted by Lawrence Solum 8:20 AM

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Brett Bellmore on Models of Judicial Selection
Brett writes:
I think Brett is entirely correct that Presidents and Senators can have varying attitudes towards formalism and realism. My model abstracted from this complication by assuming that the selectors themselves were concerned only with political ideology. If we assume that selectors themselves have preferences for formalism or realism, we would get a more complicated story. Moreover, there are really multiple players, President, Senate Majority, Senate Minority--and the two Senate players can be disaggregated into individual Senators. My simple story was designed to get at a core intuition--that in general, a President or Senator will find candidates who are more distant ideologically to be more acceptable if they are more formalist.

posted by Lawrence Solum 10:46 AM

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