Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What Judges Read

I distribute a list of recently received law reviews to judges working in the Brooklyn Supreme Court weekly. Judges do read law reviews. The most recently requested law review articles so far have been:

Why Every Chief Judge Should See 12 Angry Men by Chief Judith S. Kaye. 82 Chicago-Kent Law Review 627-631 (2007)

Blinking on the Bench: How Judges Decide Cases by Chris Guthrie, Jeffrey J. Rachlinski and Andrew J. Wistrich. 93 Cornell Law Review 1-43 (2007).

Both are excellent. Judge Kaye's article demonstrates her commitment to public involvement in the courts; it is a pleasure to work in such an agency.

The second article is really exciting. Since Jim Milles has talked about the lack of inter-disciplinary hiring in library land, this article will point out how traditional legal research needs to include recent developments in decision making.

1 comment:

Betsy McKenzie said...

This is such an interesting post, Jackie! I asked among my faculty if they had views on what journal articles judges tend to use. I got two replies. Prof. Karen Blum, who does a lot of work with federal judges and publishes great studies on 1983 actions, says "...My sense is that federal judges will consult law review articles that are useful to them in deciding cases or giving them some sense of where the law is now. They appear to have little interest (or time) to read the more esoteric, theory-oriented pieces. That doesn't mean those articles are worth writing or reading. It simply reflects busy dockets at the trial level and an interest in articles that will be of some practical use to them."

Prof. Michael Rustad had stories about two of his articles that have been used by judges in state court cases, one of which went on to the Supreme Court. Michael's articles tend to be picked up and used because he has a PhD in sociology and compiles articles based on excellent sociological research and data sets that help courts make decisions based on facts that may or may not have been brought up by parties.