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Law, Politics, and Perception: How Policy Preferences Influence Legal Reasoning

Law, Politics, and Perception: How Policy Preferences Influence Legal Reasoning (Hardback)

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Are judges' decisions more likely to be based on personal inclinations or legal authority? The answer, Eileen Braman argues, is both, Law, Politics, and Perception brings cognitive psychology to bear on the question of the relative importance of norms of legal reasoning versus decision makers' policy preferences in legal decision-making. While Braman acknowledges that decision makers' attitudes - or, more precisely, their preference for policy outcomes - can play a significant role in judicial decisions, she also argues that decision makers' belief that they must abide by accepted rules of legal analysis significantly limits the role of preferences in their judgments. To reconcile these competing factors, Brarnan posits that judges engage in 'motivated reasoning', a biased process in which decision makers are unconsciously predisposed to find legal authority that is consistent with their own preferences more convincing than those that go against them. But Braman also provides evidence that the scope of motivated reasoning is limited. Objective case facts and accepted norms of legal reasoning can often inhibit decision makers' ability to reach conclusions consistent with their preferences.

History & PoliticsPolitics & governmentHistory & PoliticsPolitics & governmentPolitical activismArmed conflictLawJurisprudence & general issuesJurisprudence & philosophy of law Publisher: University of Virginia Press Publication Date: 15/10/2009 ISBN-13: 9780813928296  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

Eileen Braman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Indiana University.

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