Marin Levy’s Judging Justice on Appeal in YLJ

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1 Response

  1. GCW321 says:

    I haven’t read the book yet, but I read Prof. Levy’s review. One question I had was whether Reynolds & Richman are right in their diagnosis of the unofficial two-track system of appellate review. Judging from the book review, it appears that Reynolds & Richman assume that if a case is resolved without oral argument and without a precedential opinion, then it must have received comparatively cursory judicial review.

    I’m not sure that assumption is accurate. Based on my experience as an appellate clerk, I’d guess that most cases (pro se cases perhaps excepted) receive roughly the same level of review — and it is only at the conclusion of that review that the judges decide that the case does not merit argument or a published opinion. That is, the clerks and judges scrutinize each case, and only upon finding that a case doesn’t present any particular close or unsettled issues do they decide that summary disposition is warranted. The fact of summary disposition doesn’t necessarily indicate lesser scrutiny on the front end.

    Of course, I’m basing that on my own limited experience. But I’d be curious to know if Reynolds & Richman have data to back up their claims, or are largely inferring a system of lesser review from the ultimate disposition of the cases.