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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 83817 Find in a Library
Title: Judicial Capacity - Courts, Court Reform, and the Limits of the Judicial Process (From Analysis of Judicial Reform, P 31-42, 1982, Philip L DuBois, ed. - See NCJ-83815)
Author(s): A Sarat
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: D C Heath and Co
Lexington, MA 02173
Sale Source: D C Heath and Co
125 Spring Street
Lexington, MA 02173
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Problems of judicial capacity are symptomatic of basic social and political developments and dysfunctions, and they can only be treated effectively as part of a comprehensive program of social and political reform.
Abstract: There is interest among judges, legislators, and others with responsibilities in and for the courts in identifying what courts can and cannot do well and in introducing reforms that will limit courts to dealing with problems they can handle effectively. By concentrating on adjudication, working from a fixed, axiomatic perspective on judicial structure, and failing to undertake explicitly comparative assessments, those interested in judicial capacity have produced a biased picture of what courts can and cannot do well. As a result, the utility of their judgments about the role of the courts in American society has been diminished. The temptation to pick out sensational failures and to work from an established idea of what courts should do cautions against relying on these judgments as guides to policy and reform. Further, people who evaluate judicial performance and identify problems in the courts and limits to their effectiveness rarely place those problems in a broader social and political context. Instead of establishing linkages with performance problems in legislatures and administrative agencies or connections with emerging social trends, they isolate judicial reform and view it as a panacea. Problems of judicial capacity must be treated in conjunction with a comprehensive program of social and political reform. Forty-six references are listed. (Author summary modified)
Index Term(s): Court reform; Critiques
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