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date: 26 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The title of the chapter, “Politics and the Legal System,” might conjure up images of judges logrolling, credit claiming, vote buying, and redirecting blame—in other words, judges acting as politicians. But the literature on judicial behavior almost never characterizes judges as “politicians in robes.” Rather, it treats “politics,” or more precisely “policy preferences,” as an important motivating force, such that a major goal of all judges is to see the law reflect their preferred policy positions. The authors follow suit, describing the role of policy preferences in studies of judging, as well as the approaches scholars have proposed to measure them. The chapter ends with a discussion of whether policy preferences should remain a focal point of research on judging. Believing that the answer is (an equivocal) no, the authors propose new avenues for research.

Keywords: judicial behavior, policy preferences, policy maximizer, policy goal, median justice, ideology

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