Judges and Their Audiences

Judges and Their Audiences: A Perspective on Judicial Behavior

Lawrence Baum
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 256
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7svjk
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  • Book Info
    Judges and Their Audiences
    Book Description:

    What motivates judges as decision makers? Political scientist Lawrence Baum offers a new perspective on this crucial question, a perspective based on judges' interest in the approval of audiences important to them.

    The conventional scholarly wisdom holds that judges on higher courts seek only to make good law, good policy, or both. In these theories, judges are influenced by other people only in limited ways, in consequence of their legal and policy goals. In contrast, Baum argues that the influence of judges' audiences is pervasive. This influence derives from judges' interest in popularity and respect, a motivation central to most people. Judges care about the regard of audiences because they like that regard in itself, not just as a means to other ends.Judges and Their Audiencesuses research in social psychology to make the case that audiences shape judges' choices in substantial ways. Drawing on a broad range of scholarship on judicial decision-making and an array of empirical evidence, the book then analyzes the potential and actual impact of several audiences, including the public, other branches of government, court colleagues, the legal profession, and judges' social peers.

    Engagingly written, this book provides a deeper understanding of key issues concerning judicial behavior on which scholars disagree, identifies aspects of judicial behavior that diverge from the assumptions of existing models, and shows how those models can be strengthened.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2754-1
    Subjects: Law, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xv)
  6. Chapter 1 THINKING ABOUT JUDICIAL BEHAVIOR
    (pp. 1-24)

    In 1989, Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose faced an investigation of his alleged gambling activities by major league baseball. Rose’s attorneys filed suit to block the investigation, and they steered the case to a Cincinnati judge who faced re-election in 1990. That judge, Norbert Nadel, allowed his announcement of a decision to be televised. When he “started the hearing with a microphone check,” according to one writer, “you knew Pete Rose had the home-court advantage” (Cleveland Plain Dealer1989). Indeed, the ruling gave Rose what he wanted. (Cincinnati Enquirer1989)

    As George W. Bush ran for president in 2000, commentators...

  7. Chapter 2 JUDGING AS SELF-PRESENTATION
    (pp. 25-49)

    In their essence, the premises of my inquiry into judges and their audiences are simple:

    1. People want to be liked and respected by others who are important to them.

    2. The desire to be liked and respected affects people’s behavior.

    3. In these respects, judges are people.

    This chapter elaborates on those premises and offers support for them. The first section examines human behavior in general, focusing on the first two premises. I draw from what the scholarship in social psychology has taught us about individuals in a social context, with an emphasis on self-presentation as a link between...

  8. Chapter 3 COURT COLLEAGUES, THE PUBLIC, AND THE OTHER BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT
    (pp. 50-87)

    When judges engage in self-presentation, they have a wide array of potential audiences. Students of judicial behavior concentrate their attention on three of those audiences. Two are elements of a court’s environment, the mass public and the other branches of government.¹ Interest in those two audiences, already substantial, has grown with the popularity of strategic models. The third, judges’ colleagues on their own court, is not conceptualized as an audience. But most scholars think of court colleagues as a powerful influence on judges’ choices.

    Different as these three audiences are, their influence over judges’ choices is usually seen as resting...

  9. Chapter 4 SOCIAL AND PROFESSIONAL GROUPS
    (pp. 88-117)

    Chapter 3 examined court colleagues, the general public, and the other branches of government, the most familiar judicial audiences. This chapter and chapter 5 consider another set of audiences. These audiences are quite diverse, but they have two characteristics in common. First, they receive little attention from students of judicial behavior. Second, their influence stems primarily from their status as personal audiences for judges. Thus these audiences are especially relevant to an inquiry into judges’ social identities and their impact on decision making.

    The audiences examined in these two chapters fall into several categories. First are social groups: judges’ families,...

  10. Chapter 5 POLICY GROUPS, THE NEWS MEDIA, AND THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT
    (pp. 118-157)

    Of all the types of personal audiences, social groups and the legal community have the greatest impact on the choices of most judges. But other kinds of groups may be highly salient to certain judges. This chapter considers two quite different kinds of groups, policy groups and the news media. It concludes by probing the hypothesis that a “Greenhouse effect” has moved some Supreme Court justices in a liberal direction, a hypothesis based on the perceived impact of several personal audiences.

    Policy groups can be defined as sets of people who share particular policy positions or ideological orientations. Some policy...

  11. Chapter 6 IMPLICATIONS FOR THE STUDY OF JUDICIAL BEHAVIOR
    (pp. 158-176)

    I have argued that judging can be understood as self-presentation to a set of audiences. Judges seek the approval of other people, and their interest in approval affects their choices on the bench. As a result, what I have called personal audiences—those whose approval is important to judges for its own sake, not as a means to other ends—shape judicial behavior. Judges’ efforts to appeal to their audiences exert an impact even when those efforts are not fully conscious, as is often—indeed usually—the case.

    This book is intended to show how a perspective based on the...

  12. REFERENCES
    (pp. 177-220)
  13. NAME INDEX
    (pp. 221-228)
  14. SUBJECT AND CASE INDEX
    (pp. 229-231)