Judicial Behavior

Jeffrey A. Segal

in The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199208425
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

 Judicial Behavior

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Judicial behavior refers to what courts and judges do. The extent to which judges choose to move beyond their policy preferences divides the field of law and politics. Normatively, influences over what judges ought to do include evaluating legal rules such as precedent or legislative intent in an attempt to find the best answers to cases before them. Thus, in addition to the judges' own preferences, legal influences should be useful in explaining judicial behavior, though the extent to which it does undoubtedly varies throughout the judicial system. Judicial politics can be law or politics, but frequently it is both, with the mixture dependent on the type of court and the context of the case. This article examines judicial behavior, stare decisis, text and intent, judges' attitudes, the behaviour of the U.S. Supreme Court, judicial decisions in the lower courts, and separation of powers.

Keywords: Supreme Court; judicial behavior; courts; judges; law; politics; judicial politics; stare decisis; separation of powers; judicial decisions

Article.  5819 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Politics and Law

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