The introduction begins with the rule of law paradigm, which has long operated on the premise that independent judges disregard extralegal influences and uphold the law. In recent decades, however, challenges to that premise have proliferated, as critics agitate for greater political control of judges and courts. With the rule of law paradigm beginning to crumble, this book proposes a new way of looking at how judicial decision-making should be conceptualized and regulated. This new, “legal culture paradigm” defends the need for an independent judiciary that is acculturated to take law seriously, but which is subject to extralegal influences. These extralegal influences cannot be eliminated but can be managed, by balancing the needs for judicial independence and accountability across competing perspectives, to the end of enabling judges to follow the law, respect established legal process, and administer justice.
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