Luke M. Milligan *
For over a century law professors and political scientists have shared a commitment to the study of how judges decide cases. Today the subject of judicial decisionmaking continues to hold the focus of some of the most influential scholars in law schools and political science departments. Despite their common point of study, legal scholars and political scientists have traditionally held deep suspicions about the other‘s models, data, and ideas. Their mutual distrust is a function of contending assumptions about judicial values and goals. Within political science, scholars of “judicial politics” have tended to assume that judges use their office to maximize the implementation of a broad platform of individual policy preferences. This assumption has been resisted, and in most cases flatly rejected, by the constitutional theorists of the legal academy.
* Assistant Professor of Law, University of Louisville School of Law. The author is grateful for comments received at the Criminal Procedure Discussion Forum at Emory University School of Law and the Faculty Workshop Series at Florida State University College of Law.