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Life of a Law Student, University of Houston Law Center

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Must Read Literature: Posner, How Judges Think

By: Luke Gilman | Other Posts by
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Last night I got my copy of Judge Richard Posner‘s How Judges Think which was released well… today (damn Amazon’s fast).

I only allowed myself time enough for the first chapter before study-guilt caught up with me, but I’m getting excited about this one –

Judicial preconceptions are best understood, we shall see, with the aid of Bayesian decision theory. Not hat this is how judges themselves would describe their thought processes. And ‘Bayes’s theorem’ is not the only term I shall be using that is likely to alarm some readers of a book about judges. Nor are “occasional legislators” and “dissent aversion” the only others. readers will have to brace themselves for “reversal aversion,” ideology drift,” “tolerable windows,” “utility function,” “Sartrean bad faith,” “option value,” “risk aversion,” “zone of reasonableness,” “monopsony,” “cosmopolitanism,” “authoritarian personality,” “alienation,” “agency costs,” “rule pragmatist,” and “constrained pragmatist.” I do not apologize for these terms or, more generally, for discussing judicial thinking in a vocabulary alien to most judges and lawyers. Judicial behavior cannot be understood in the vocabulary that judges themselves use, sometimes mischievously.

Oh this is going to be a good one.

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