Curriculum Guide · Courses
Formalist and Realist Theories of Judging
J.D. Course 1123 | 1 credit hours
Judicial decision making is frequently discussed in terms of the contrast between formalism and realism. Formalism describes judging as mechanical and strictly rule bound, while realism asserts that judicial decisions are shaped by the political preferences of the judge. This course will examine the formalist-realist contrast in terms of its historical origins, its theoretical soundness, its accuracy as a descriptive account of judging, and its utility for understanding judicial decision making. The course material will include accounts of judging by judges, political scientists, and legal theorists. The course requires regular participation in class discussion and the final will be a take home.
Laptop use is not permitted. Attendance is mandatory at all class sessions, unless specifically excused. Note: This course is an intensive two week course and will meet on the following dates: Tues., 1/15; Thurs., 1/17; Fri., 1/18; Tues., 1/22; Thurs., 1/24; and Fri., 1/25.