I am Tom Freeland, a lawyer in Oxford, Mississippi. The picture in the header is my law office. I'm on Twitter as NMissC

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Richard Posner on judges as “cognitive misers”

Thinking is costly to the thinker in the sense of being difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating. People economize on thinking by using shortcuts, deferring to expert opinion (even if that requires an arbitrary choice between competing experts), or changing the subject– in the case of judges, substituting a legalistic approach that they understand for a technologically informed approach that they would find difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating to understand and apply.  A psychological literature… describes people as “cognitive misers,” and … the term [has been applied] to the judges of the Federal Circuit

Richard Posner, in the process of describing failings he sees in the process of judging, in the book Reflections on Judging.

This is a fascinating book so far. His examples of what goes awry with judging are very specific, and include naming names.  For instance, he thinks textualist approaches are pretty useless.

More about it later.

4 comments to Richard Posner on judges as “cognitive misers”

  • Pepper Crutcher

    You should heave heard him in debate on this at our convention in 2012. He lost some points and won some, but there was not a dull minute in the 90 minutes of debate.

  • NMC

    Pepper, his new book is the most entertaining/readable book on the subject (jurisprudence/judging) I’ve read in decades. I’m not quite halfway through, but love it that far in.

  • Crispin Garcia

    Rushing to buy it today!

  • Ben

    Well … I’m sorta between books right now … it’s the holidays. What the heck … guess I need to get Posner’s book just so I can feign an air of erudition. Y’all set the hook.

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