Legal Change: Selective Litigation, Judicial Bias, and Precedent
Thomas J. Miceli
A key question in the literature on legal change is whether the law evolves via the conscious efforts of judges or is the result of invisible-hand processes. This paper confirms Priest's claim that when judges are unbiased, selective litigation alone can cause the law to evolve toward efficiency. However, when judges are biased, the direction of legal change depends on whether the extent of judicial bias is large enough to overcome the selective litigation effect. The paper also shows that the desirability of binding precedent lies in its ability to restrain biased judges from driving the law away from efficiency. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..
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