This hardback edition has been replaced by a new paperback edition:

Structures of Judicial Decision Making from Legal Formalism to Critical Theory

Second Edition

by Roy L. Brooks

Tags: Legal History

Table of Contents (PDF)

380 pp  $50.00

ISBN 978-1-59460-123-1

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This is a general book on jurisprudence designed for both the novice and more experienced student, which makes it suitable for first-year law students. It is the first book to distinguish and connect traditional theories of judicial decision-making (e.g., legal formalism, textualism, legal realism, and legal process) with "critical process" (which is critical theory transformed from a theory of legal criticism into a theory of judicial decision-making).

Brooks breaks new ground on several other fronts as well — he employs an innovative framework that divides judicial decision-making models into the "logical method" and the "policy method;" offers a more nuanced conceptualization of judicial policy-formulation in which judges are seen as not only making policy, but also (and more typically) as discovering and vindicating policy; redefines "policy-making" in a manner that is different from our traditional understanding of the term; and synthesizes critical process into three judicial models: symmetrical, asymmetrical, and hybrid.

The book is written in two parts. Part 1 (Traditional Process) discusses five major traditional judicial models, each reflective of either the logical method or the policy method. Part 1 ends with a synthesis of the traditional models (dividing them into three categories), which judges who have used the book find to be most useful. Part 2 (Critical Process) begins with a discussion of critical theory's central theme and operating elements and then transforms these features into a theory of outsider-oriented judicial decision making, something judges can actually use in deciding cases. Critical theory is thus transformed into "critical process."