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Courting PerilThe Political Transformation of the American Judiciary$
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Charles Gardner Geyh

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190233495

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190233495.001.0001

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The Legal Culture Paradigm

The Legal Culture Paradigm

(p.76) Chapter 5 The Legal Culture Paradigm
Courting Peril

Charles Gardner Geyh

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 revisits the ailing rule of law paradigm and proposes, in its stead, a new “legal culture” paradigm, which rests on a different set of assumptions that comport more closely with the traditional understandings of the judicial role summarized in Chapter 4. This new paradigm posits that judges are immersed in a legal culture that values law, process, and justice—values that independence promotes by insulating judges from external pressures that could undermine their commitment to the norms of the legal culture. Yet, because judges are also subject to internal influences in tension with the values of the legal culture, independence must be tempered by a measure of accountability, the appropriate limits of which vary by dimension: an adjudicative dimension that seeks fair hearings for litigants; a political dimension that seeks public confidence in the courts; and an ethical dimension that seeks good judges who respect their roles.

Keywords:   rule of law, legal culture, judicial independence, judicial accountability, judicial role

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