Judicial Decision Making, New Legal Realism, and the Faltering U. S. Constitution
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Picture a judge, in a courtroom. What do you imagine? It's likely that you see an image of a black, flowing robe, seated the highest in the room. This deferential respect we pay to judges is not arbitrary, but carefully constructed to maintain an image of prestige, fairness, and rationality. Yet, to what extent is this image an illusion? Are judges truly impartial? Can anyone be truly and wholly impartial? Or are judges in fact human beings, subject to the same pulls of society and politics? There is a strong argument to be made that judges operate in the context of the society in which they live, and are thus influenced by this socialization and their positionality. With this being said, what are these extralegal factors that affect judicial decision making in the United States? This broad research topic involves many other resulting questions. How does the unique structure of the American judiciary affect decisions rendered? What are the defining characteristics of the modern American justice system, and what are the consequences if these characteristics are not what the Constitution intended? What methods do judges employ when making decisions? How does their positionality affect their decisions? Finally, what are the main theories surrounding judicial decision making in America, and what solutions to they put forth?