Theories of Judicial Decisionmaking

8035396680_31ed820eb3_z

Yesterday, we began our analysis by addressing the competing theories of judicial behavior.  Formalism, the oldest theory, teaches that judicial decision making can be explained and predicted based upon the facts, the applicable law and precedent and judicial deliberations – and nothing more.  But if formalism explains all of judicial decision making, then many of

3020503532_0f68b5342d_zWe begin our analysis by addressing the foundation of the entire body of data analytic scholarship on appellate judging: competing theories of judicial decision making.

The oldest theory by far is generally known in the literature as “formalism.”  This is the theory we all learned in law school, according to which every decision turns on