Making Law in the United States Courts of Appeals / Edition 1

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This book asks how federal court judges decide cases when faced with unsettled issues of law. Specifically, how much and why are their decisions influenced by higher court judges or other judges at the same level as themselves? To answer these questions, the author relies on statistical analyses of decisions and interviews with court of appeals judges. The key findings are that judges give serious attention to the work of colleagues of equal authority, but demonstrate substantial independence from the Supreme Court.

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Editorial Reviews

Even if a particular appeals court is a mid- or low-level component of the larger American judicial system, it often has the power to alter legal policy substantially where the Supreme Court has yet to rule. Klein (government and foreign affairs, U. of Virginia) explores the legal and behavioral facets of this phenomena, specifically focusing on questions of how judges react to the situation, whether the decisions of judges of equal stature affect their judgment, and under what circumstances are other decisions more or less likely to have an impact. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
From the Publisher
"...this book has important things to say about the nature of the judicial process and how we understand the role of law in our legal system. It is one of the more important books on law and courts that has been written in recent years and should qualify as a must-read for all scholars in the law and courts community." Journal of Politics

"Klein's book is one of the best systematic examinations of behavior on the U.S. Courts of Appeals to be produced and it is bound to make a substantial impact on the discipline." The Law and Politics Book Review

"'Outstanding' and 'path breaking' are overused words; nonetheless they accurately describe this book. As a blend of legal and behavioral scholarship it has no peer, a blend produced by the creation of an innovative set of rigorous measures that are certain to be adapted and employed in subsequent work." Harold J. Spaeth, Michigan State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521891455
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2013
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 190
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.43 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
1 Law Making in a Hierarchical Judicial System 1
2 Theory and Hypotheses 10
3 The Cases 40
4 Influences on Circuit Judges' Responses: Case Evidence 62
5 Influences on Circuit Judges' Responses: Interview Evidence 87
6 Anticipating the Supreme Court 107
7 Implications and Future Directions 131
App. A: Rules and Cases 147
App. B: Interview Questions 168
References 171
Index 179
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