Judges and Their Audiences: A Perspective on Judicial Behavior

Front Cover

What motivates judges as decision makers? Political scientist Lawrence Baum offers a new perspective on this crucial question, a perspective based on judges' interest in the approval of audiences important to them.


The conventional scholarly wisdom holds that judges on higher courts seek only to make good law, good policy, or both. In these theories, judges are influenced by other people only in limited ways, in consequence of their legal and policy goals. In contrast, Baum argues that the influence of judges' audiences is pervasive. This influence derives from judges' interest in popularity and respect, a motivation central to most people. Judges care about the regard of audiences because they like that regard in itself, not just as a means to other ends. Judges and Their Audiences uses research in social psychology to make the case that audiences shape judges' choices in substantial ways. Drawing on a broad range of scholarship on judicial decision-making and an array of empirical evidence, the book then analyzes the potential and actual impact of several audiences, including the public, other branches of government, court colleagues, the legal profession, and judges' social peers.


Engagingly written, this book provides a deeper understanding of key issues concerning judicial behavior on which scholars disagree, identifies aspects of judicial behavior that diverge from the assumptions of existing models, and shows how those models can be strengthened.

 

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Contents

Thinking about Judicial Behavior
1
Models of Judicial Behavior
5
The Judge as Mr Spock
9
Limitations of the Dominant Models
19
Audience as a Perspective
21
Judging as SelfPresentation
25
A First Look
32
Audiences and Judicial Behavior
43
Conclusions
116
Policy Groups the News Media and the Greenhouse Effect
118
The News Media
135
A Greenhouse Effect?
139
Conclusions
155
Implications for the Study of Judicial Behavior
158
Departures from the Dominant Models
162
Probing the Impact of Judicial Audiences
171

Court Colleagues the Public and the Other Branches of Government
50
The General Public
60
The Other Branches
72
Conclusions
85
Social and Professional Groups
88
Lawyers and Judges
97
Some Final thoughts
174
References
177
Name Index
221
Subject and Case Index
229
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Lawrence Baum is professor of political science at Ohio State University. He is a student of judicial politics, with a primary interest in explanation of judicial behavior. His previous books include include American Courts, The Supreme Court, and The Puzzle of Judicial Behavior.

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