The Behavior of Federal Judges: A View from the D.C. Circuit


In their book The Behavior of Federal Judges, Professors Lee Epstein and William Landes and Judge Richard Posner offer many insights into the workings of the federal judiciary. Two of their findings, however, strike me as curious: (1) A high rate of dissent in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and (2) a significant ideological influence upon decisions of the courts of appeals generally. In this brief essay, I examine these findings based upon limited quantitative evidence and some direct observations drawn from 27 years of service on the D.C. Circuit.