Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Judges on trial: Law and politics in the life of trial judges
by Fernandez, Amy, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2010, 75; 1490377
Abstract (Summary)

There is a wealth of scholarship that examines how judicial attitudes affect appellate decision-making. Less attention, however, has been paid to the attitudes of trial judges. While there is some scholarship examining the actions of trial judges, there is very little examining how their motivations affect their performance. Moreover, just as with appellate judges, more ethnographic research is needed to investigate the connections between attitudes and actions. Therefore, in this paper, I use interviews to investigate the motivations of five trial court judges. This alternative way of investigating trial court judicial decision-making reveals that, at least in the minds of trial judges, legal factors have greater influence than social or political ones. This exploratory study helps us understand how judges see law as a check on their personal and political motivations. Even in political cases, judges see themselves as good faith interpreters of law because of their sense of professional obligation and the influence of jurisprudential schools of thought, which they see as outweighing political ideology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Whitehead, Jason
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 49/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Law, Political science
Publication Number: 1490377
ISBN: 978-1-124-54847-0
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