How Judges Think

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Overview

A Distinguished and Experienced Appellate court judge, Richard A. Posner offers in this new book a unique and, to orthodox legal thinkers, a startling perspective on how judges and justices decide cases.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Posner is unique in the world of American jurisprudence, a highly regarded U.S. appellate judge and a prolific and controversial writer on legal philosophy (The Little Book of Plagiarism). Opinionated, sarcastic and argumentative as ever, Posner is happy to weigh in not only on how judges think, but how he thinks they should think. When sticking to explaining the nine intellectual approaches to judging that he identifies, and to the gap between legal academics and judges, and his well-formulated pragmatic approach to judging, Posner is insightful, accessible, often funny and a model of clarity. When he charges off into longstanding arguments with fellow legal theorists (liberal commentator Ronald Dworkin, for one) or examines doctrinal discrepancies in the opinions of Supreme Court justices, he writes for a far more limited audience. For the record, although Justice Scalia is a favorite target, none of the Supreme Court nine escapes Posner's lethally sharp pen. Posner's two major points-that to a great extent judges make decisions based not on theory but on who they are, their gender, education, class and experiences, and that "the Supreme Court is a political court" regardless of what theory of constitutional interpretation justices claim-are well worthwhile and deeply rooted in common sense and experience. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
New York Times on the Web
Posner's latest book, How Judges Think, is important, if only because it's Posner looking at his own profession from the inside. Two of the chapters, "Judges Are Not Law Professors" and "Is Pragmatic Adjudication Inescapable?," are worth the price of admission by themselves. The book can be read as one long screed against the jurisprudence of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and stands as a refutation to those who believe the category of conservative can lazily be applied to a mind as independent as Posner's.
— Barry Gewen
New York Times online

Posner's latest book, How Judges Think, is important, if only because it's Posner looking at his own profession from the inside. Two of the chapters, "Judges Are Not Law Professors" and "Is Pragmatic Adjudication Inescapable?," are worth the price of admission by themselves. The book can be read as one long screed against the jurisprudence of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and stands as a refutation to those who believe the category of conservative can lazily be applied to a mind as independent as Posner's.
— Barry Gewen

Forbes.com

A prolific and brilliant writer, Posner's How Judges Think is perhaps his most illuminating work for its profound, and sometimes polemical, insights into the judicial process...Judge Posner's examination of the issues is thorough, scholarly and riveting. He has written an important book—a must read not just for lawyers, but also for anyone who wants to understand how the inscrutable, and sometimes oracular, process of judging really works.
— James D. Zirin

New York Times online - Barry Gewen
Posner's latest book, How Judges Think, is important, if only because it's Posner looking at his own profession from the inside. Two of the chapters, "Judges Are Not Law Professors" and "Is Pragmatic Adjudication Inescapable?," are worth the price of admission by themselves. The book can be read as one long screed against the jurisprudence of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and stands as a refutation to those who believe the category of conservative can lazily be applied to a mind as independent as Posner's.
Forbes.com - James D. Zirin
A prolific and brilliant writer, Posner's How Judges Think is perhaps his most illuminating work for its profound, and sometimes polemical, insights into the judicial process...Judge Posner's examination of the issues is thorough, scholarly and riveting. He has written an important book--a must read not just for lawyers, but also for anyone who wants to understand how the inscrutable, and sometimes oracular, process of judging really works.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674028203
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2008
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard A. Posner is Circuit Judge, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Pt. 1 The Basic Model

1 Nine Theories of Judicial Behavior 19

2 The Judge as Labor-Market Participant 57

3 The Judge as Occasional Legislator 78

4 The Mind of the Legislating Judge 93

Pt. 2 The Model Elaborated

5 The Judicial Environment: External Constraints on Judging 125

6 Altering the Environment: Tenure and Salary Issues 158

7 Judicial Method: Internal Constraints on Judging 174

8 Judges Are Not Law Professors 204

9 Is Pragmatic Adjudication Inescapable? 230

Pt. 3 Justices

10 The Supreme Court Is a Political Court 269

11 Comprehensive Constitutional Theories 324

12 Judicial Cosmopolitanism 347

Conclusion 369

Acknowledgments 379

Index 381

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