Summary: This groundbreaking new work offers a strategic account of judicial decisions. In this account, justices are strategic actors who realize that their ability to achieve their goals (primarily policy goals) depends on a consideration of the preferences of their colleagues and other relevant actors, of the choices they expect others to make, and of the institutional context in which they act. All of these factors hold sway over justices as they make their key decisions, ...show more including which cases to accept, how to interact with their colleagues, and what policies to adopt in their opinions.
Choices is a thought-provoking work that is an ideal supplement for judicial process and public law courses. In addition to offering a unique and sustained theory, the authors tell a fascinating story of how the Court works. Data culled from the Court's public records and from the private papers of Justices Brennan, Douglas, Marshall, and Powell provides empirical evidence to support the central argument, while numerous examples from the justices' papers both animate and make accessible the book's theoretical framework.
The first chapter provides an overview of the strategic account and explains why it is useful. Epstein and Knight then present its three main components: Chapter 2 documents the importance of policy goals; Chapter 3 looks at behaviors consistent with the notion of strategic interaction aimed toward achieving policy ends; and Chapters 4 and 5 examine the institutions--both internal and external to the Court--that structure such activity. The final chapter considers the many implications of the strategic account, especially as they pertain to the development of the law and to the future study of law and the courts. An accompanying Web site provides all of the original data, along with information on how they were collected and coded. ...show less