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Courts and Judicial Policymaking, CourseSmart eTextbook

By Christopher P. Banks, David M. O'Brien

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jun 8, 2007

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For courses in courts and the judicial process; and law and society. The scope of its coverage, and its high academic quality, makes it attractive for graduate courses as well.


Christopher P. Banks and David M. O'Brien wrote Courts and Judicial Policymaking to fill a need for a comprehensive textbook on law and judicial policymaking. The text provides a fresh perspective on the contemporary politics of law, courts, the legal profession, and judicial policymaking, often with an underlying comparative judicial process perspective. It covers four distinct areas: 1) What is law?; 2) How are courts organized and how do they work procedurally?; 3) What influences court access and, ultimately, judicial decision-making?; and, 4) How do courts make policy, and how is judicial authority constrained? It has relevant and contemporary analyses of literature from the political science and legal fields; and analyses from scholars who argue from the quantitative (attitudinal and strategic models) and the qualitative (new institutionalism) perspectives. It contains up-to-date charts and graphs on the organization of courts and trends in litigation, caseloads, and opinion writing, and it is appropriate for undergraduate and graduate classes.


Feedback includes:


“The book is extremely well written and organized, one of the smoothest textbooks I have read in terms of readability. The tables provided are a major selling point for the book – nicely summarize complex and often confusing materials." – Roger Handberg, University of Central Florida


“The best feature of this manuscript is its thorough coverage of the subject matter as well as the in-depth analysis of specific topics and questions addressed in the boxed material and sidebars. Adding a comparative dimension by looking at the judicial systems and procedures of other countries is also quite novel.” – Susan Mezey, Loyola University, Chicago

Table of Contents







Section I: The Nature of Law


CHAPTER 1. Legal Systems and Sources of Law


Legal Systems             


            Civil Law, Common Law, Ideological Legal Systems, Religious Legal Systems, Customary and “Mixed” Legal Systems    


The Nature and Sources of Law          


            Public Law, Private Law          


CHAPTER 2. The Politics of Law and Jurisprudence   


Classical Theories of Jurisprudence      


            Natural Law, Legal Positivism, Sociological Jurisprudence and Legal Realism   


Contemporary Theories of Jurisprudence  


            Economics in Law and Pragmatism, Feminist Jurisprudence, Critical Legal and Race Perspectives


            Controversies Over Courts: How Should Judges Interpret the Constitution? 


The Rule of Law and the Judicial Process         


            In Comparative Perspective: Constitutional Courts in Europe  


Section II:  Court Organization and Operation       


CHAPTER 3. Judicial Organization, Structure, and Administration   


The Origins of U.S. Courts   


            The 1798 Judiciary Act, The Growth of the Federal Judiciary  


Contemporary Judicial Federalism: State and Federal Courts   


            State Judiciaries, The Federal Judiciary    


            In Comparative Perspective: Courts in South and Southeast Asia       


The Politics of Judicial Administration    


            State Court Administration, The Administration of the Federal Judiciary 


The Politics of Judicial Reform in the 21st Century         


            Controversies over Courts: Should the Public Finance State Judicial Elections?          


Chapter 4. Judicial Recruitment, Retention, and Removal        


State Judicial Selection   


            Controversies over Courts: Are State Judicial Campaigns and Elections Too Partisan?   


Federal Judicial Selection   


            The Framers and Judicial Selection, Ideology or Merit?, The Nomination Process, The Confirmation Process    


Towards A Representative Bench and a Career Judiciary?       


            A Representative Bench?, Leaving the Bench


            In Comparative Perspective: The Career Judiciary in Japan    


Section III: Influences on Judicial Access and Decision-Making     


Chapter 5. The Practice of Law    


The Rise of the American Legal Profession         


Contemporary Legal Education and Bar Admission        


The Business of Legal Practice    


            Private Practice, Government Attorneys, Corporate Legal Practice, Public Interest Lawyers and Legal Academia            


Access to Lawyers and Equal Justice               


            The Right to Counsel in Criminal Cases, Legal Representation in Civil Litigation, Government Subsidized Legal Aid, Pro Se Representation, Pro Bono Legal Services


Chapter 6. Access to Courts   


Formal Barriers           


Discretionary Barriers     


            The Law of Standing,    Mootness and Ripeness, The Political Question Doctrine          


            Controversies Over Courts: Is the Federal Judiciary Too Small to Provide Equal  Access to Justice?          


Organized Interests and Strategic Litigation      


            Interest Group Politics and Litigation Strategies  


            In Comparative Perspective: Comparative Constitutional Law and Capital Punishment      


Chapter 7. The Adversarial Process and Criminal Procedure 


The Adversarial Process    


            Trials: Truth or Fight Theory?   


Prosecutorial Discretion: From Arrest to Trial  


            Initial Appearance, Preliminary Hearings and Grand Jury Indictments, Formal Arraignment, Plea Bargaining 


The Jury’s Role    


            The Democratic Politics of Citizen-Juries            


            In Comparative Perspective: Jury Systems Around the World


            Controversies Over Courts: What is the Role of Courts in Times of Crisis and Wartime?        


The Politics of the Post-Trial Sentencing Process          


            The Growth of Determinate Structured Sentencing


Chapter 8. Civil Litigation          


The Civil Trial Process 


            The Nature of Civil Litigation, Civil Procedure  


            Alternative Dispute Resolution   


            In Comparative Perspective: Transnational Courts - Quasi-Judicial Tribunals Under NAFTA 


Section IV: Judicial Policymaking   


Chapter 9. Judicial Decision-Making and Behavior   


The Appellate Decision-Making Process            

            Agenda Setting, Oral Argument, Judicial Conferences, Opinion Writing  


            Controversies Over Courts: Should Unpublished Judicial Opinions Count as Precedents?      


Studying Judicial Decision-Making    


            The Attitudinal Model, New Institutionalism, Strategic Choice Theory, Legal Reasoning and Interpretative Approaches, The Law and Politics of Legal Precedent


Statutory Interpretation


            Statutory Construction and Administrative Regulation  


Constitutional Interpretation     


            The Methods of Constitutional Interpretation, The Sources of Constitutional Interpretation  


Chapter 10.  The Scope and Limits of Judicial Power         


Judicial Policy-Making    


            State Judicial Policymaking: Equality in Educational Financing Cases, Federal Judicial Policymaking: Privacy Rights and Abortion Politics   


            In Comparative Perspective: The European Court of Justice and The Globalization of Judicial Power   


The Impact of Judicial Decisions              


            The Politics of Gay Rights and Same Sex Marriages: A Case Study 


The Limitations of Judicial Power    


            Internal Constraints, External Restraints


            Controversies Over Courts: Do Courts Forge Major Social Change?



3.1. The United States Court System    


3.2. State Court Organization    


3.3. California’s Unified Court System    


3.4. Ohio’s Non-Unified Court System     


3.5. Geographical Boundaries of the U.S. Court System   


3.6. The Organization of Judicial Administration in the United States    


4.1. The Nomination and Confirmation Process for Federal Judges   


7.1. The Stages of Trial and the Presentation of Evidence    


7.2. The Criminal Trial and Appeal Process    


8.1. The Civil Trial and Appeal Process     


9.1. The Process of Appellate Decision-Making     


9.2. Research Methodologies for Studying Judicial Politics   


10.1. Judicial Compliance and Impact    



1.1. Major Global Legal Systems 


1.2. Types of Law  


3.1. Landmark Judicial Administration Legislation  


3.2. A Comparison of the State and Federal Judiciary   


3.3. Type of State Courts  


3.4. State Trial Court Docket   


3.5. U.S. District Court Caseload and Docket Composition, 1960-2004   


3.6. Nature of Civil Actions and Criminal Offenses in U.S. District Court, 2000-2004    


3.7. U.S. Courts of Appeals Docket Composition and Source of Appeals, 1988-2004  


4.1. Judicial Selection Methods in the States   


4.2. Federal Judicial Selection Methods During Modern Presidencies   


4.3. Unsuccessful U.S. Supreme Court Nominations   


4.4. The Duration of the Confirmation Process in Lower Federal Court Nominations     


4.5. Demographic Characteristics of U.S. District Court Appointees     


4.6. Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Court of Appeals’ Appointees    


4.7. Judicial Salaries of State and Federal Judges   


5.1. Demand for Legal Education, 1964-2005    


5.2. Legal Profession Occupations, By Gender and Position    


5.3. Top “Megafirms” in the United States    


5.4. Salient Differences in Legal Representation in Indigent Criminal Cases   


7.1. Trial Court Characteristics in Adversary and Inquisitorial Legal Systems   


7.2. Constitutional Protections in Criminal Cases   


7.3. Criminal Convictions Resulting from Trials and Pleas in State Felony Cases  


7.4. Sentencing Typologies and Practices   


8.1. Number of Tort and Contract Trials and Median Jury Awards to Plaintiffs    


8.2. Alternative Dispute Resolution and Settlement Practices    


9.1. Appeals Terminated After Oral Hearing in U.S. Courts of Appeals   


9.2. Types of Judicial Opinions   


9.3. Appeals Terminated Without Published Opinion in U.S. Courts of Appeals   


9.4. Select Categories of Legal or Political Variables Used to Explain or Predict Judicial Decisions   


9.5. Voting Alignments in the Rehnquist Court, 1986-2004  


9.6. Rehnquist Court Voting Blocs, By Natural Court, 1994-2004    


9.7. Interpretative Methods of Statutory Construction    


10.1. Constitutional Amendments Overturning Unpopular U.S. Supreme Court Decisions   



1.1. Inquisitorial and Adversarial Systems    


1.2. Researching the Law and Judicial Decisions   


3.1. Tribal Courts        


3.2. United States Magistrates    


4.1. Should Judges Make Direct Appeals to Voters During Judicial Campaigns?   


4.2. The Federalist Society’s Role in the Modern Confirmation Process


5.1. The Poor State of Indigent Defense Systems in the States  


6.1. The Ashwander Rules of Constitutional Avoidance


6.2. “Public Interest” Lawsuits in the United States and Abroad


7.1. Plea Bargaining Practices in the United States and Continental Europe   


7.2. Jury Nullification     


8.1. The Politics of Class Actions         


9.1. The U.S. Solicitor General


10.1. Judicial Activism and Restraint         


10.2. The Battle over School Funding in the States   

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Courts and Judicial Policymaking, CourseSmart eTextbook
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$35.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-13-613303-2