Thursday, October 8, 2020
"The Roles of Judges in Democracies: A Realistic View" is now out in Journal of Institutional Studies, and will also be reprinted in P. Chiassoni & B. Spaic (eds.), Judges and Adjudication in Constitutional Democracies: A View from Legal Realism (Springer, 2021). From the abstract (taken from the penultimate SSRN version):
What are the “obligations” of judges in democracies? An adequate answer requires us to be realistic both about democracies and about law. Realism about democracy demands that we recognize that electoral outcomes are largely, though not entirely, unrelated to concrete policy choices by elected representatives or to the policy preferences of voters, who typically follow their party based on “tribal” loyalties. The latter fact renders irrelevant the classic counter-majoritarian (or counter-democratic) worries about judicial review. Realism about law requires that we recognize that judges, especially on appellate courts, will inevitably have to render moral and political judgments in order to produce authoritative resolutions of disputes, one of the central functions of a legal system in any society. That means it is impossible to discuss the “obligations” of judges without regard to their actual moral and political views, as well as the moral and political ends we believe ought to be achieved.
"Critical Remarks on Shapiro's Legality and the 'Grounding Turn' in Recent Jurisprudence," is now up on SSRN; here's the abstract:
The essay discusses some difficulties in Scott Shapiro’s LEGALITY (2011). Many are well-known among specialists, but I set them out systematically here for the benefit of non-specialists. These include the mischaracterization of core jurisprudential questions in terms of “grounding” relations, which unfortunately erases the major natural law positions in the field (e.g., those of Finnis and Murphy), and results in a version of “positivism” that major legal positivists (e.g., Hart) do not accept (cf. pp. 2, 10-13); but also the false claims that: (1) “knowledge of law is normative” such that to say X has “a legal right is to draw a normative conclusion” (cf. p. 15); (2) officials have a legal obligation to follow the rule of recognition (cf. p. 17); and (3) Hart commits a “category mistake” in his discussion of social rules (cf. p. 19). The essay also criticizes Shapiro’s discussion of jurisprudential methodology (pp. 3-8) and his (Dworkinian) attempt to show that the answer to jurisprudential questions matters to how courts should decide cases (pp. 13-14).
The SSRN version will remain on-line and is citable, but much of the material will probably migrate into my From a Realist Point of View (Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2022 or 2023).
Finally, "The Naturalized Epistemology Approach to Evidence," (co-authored with Gabe Broughton, who is the lead author) is also on SSRN, and will appear in C. Dahlman, A. Stein, & G. Tuzet (eds.), Philosophical Foundations of Evidence Law (Oxford University Press, 2021). Here is the abstract:
Studying evidence law as part of naturalized epistemology means using the tools and results of the sciences to evaluate evidence rules based on the accuracy of the verdicts they are likely to produce. In this brief chapter, we introduce the approach and address skeptical concerns about the value of systematic empirical research for evidence scholarship, focusing, in particular, on worries about the external validity of jury simulation studies. Finally, turning to applications, we consider possible reforms regarding eyewitness identifications and character evidence.