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Ohio Northern University’s Law Dean’s Lecture Series to focus on ‘Supreme Court Justices as Human Decision-Makers’

Mar 19, 2015

Ohio Northern University’s Pettit College of Law presents Lawrence Baum, professor emeritus of political science at Ohio State University, as part of the Dean’s Lecture Series in the Celebrezze Moot Court Room at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 30.

The title of Baum’s presentation is “Supreme Court Justices as Human Decision-Makers.” The event is free and open to the public.

According to Baum, “among legal scholars and political scientists, the dominant conception is that Supreme Court justices act in a straightforward way to advance what they view as good law and good policy. This conception has yielded a great deal of insight on the Court, but its perspective is limited. As human beings, justices act in a more complex way: They make choices on the basis of a wide array of motivations, their choices are not simply the product of rational calculations, and they differ from each other in how and why they reach their judgments. By taking those complications into account, we can gain a richer understanding of decision-making in the Supreme Court.”

Baum’s teaching and research focus on courts in the U.S. His primary interest is judicial decision-making. He also has studied the implementation of judicial decisions, the selection of judges through elections, and the creation and functioning of specialized courts. His books include “The Puzzle of Judicial Behavior,” “Judges and Their Audiences,” and “Specializing the Courts.” He is the 2014 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Law and Courts Section of the American Political Science Association.

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