This course will be devoted to exploring cutting-edge issues related to how U.S. courts operate, and how judges reach the decisions that resolve individual disputes and shape our law. We expect to cover such topics as the role that personal characteristics (including race, gender, and ideology) play in judicial decisionmaking, collegial interactions among judges on multimember courts, interactions among courts at different levels of the judicial hierarchy, mechanisms for judicial selection and retention, and the relationship between the judiciary and other branches of government.
We will explore these and related topics by reading works in progress by experts in the field, who will join us in class for discussion. Most classes will follow the format of a faculty workshop rather than a conventional seminar. The authors will present their work, and we will then have extensive Q&A. We expect that the articles will cover a wide array of methodologies and subfields within law and social science—some will be squarely within the empirical literature on judicial decisionmaking, some will fit more neatly into federal courts literatures, and others will focus on institutional design or judicial administration. The goals of the course include developing your expertise in how judges make their decisions and how courts function, as well as exposing you to the work of a wide range of scholars and methodologies.
|Course Areas of Practice|
Knowledge and understanding of substantive and procedural law
Legal analysis and reasoning, legal research, problem-solving, and written and oral communication in the legal context