By Brian Z. Tamanaha

In response to traditional knowledge in American felony tradition, the 1870s to Twenties used to be the age of felony formalism, whilst judges believed that the legislations was once independent and logically ordered, and they automatically deduced correct solutions in instances. within the Nineteen Twenties and Thirties, the tale keeps, the criminal realists discredited this view via demonstrating that the legislations is marked via gaps and contradictions, arguing that judges build criminal justifications to aid wanted results. This often-repeated ancient account is almost taken with no consideration this day, and maintains to form understandings approximately judging. during this groundbreaking booklet, esteemed criminal theorist Brian Tamanaha completely debunks the formalist-realist divide.Drawing from huge examine into the writings of judges and students, Tamanaha exhibits how, during the last century and a part, jurists have frequently expressed a balanced view of judging that recognizes the constraints of legislations and of judges, but acknowledges that judges can and do render rule-bound judgements. He finds how the tale in regards to the formalist age was once an invention of politically influenced critics of the courts, and the way it has ended in major misunderstandings approximately criminal realism.Beyond the Formalist-Realist Divide lines how this fake story has distorted reviews of judging by means of political scientists and debates between felony theorists. recuperating a balanced realism approximately judging, this booklet essentially rewrites criminal heritage and provides a clean standpoint for theorists, judges, and practitioners of legislations.

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65 This oracular view of judging prevailed, according to White, until the coming of sociological jurisprudence (a` la Pound) in the early twentieth century. S. ”66 THE COMMON LAW MYTH • 21 That is the conventional wisdom purveyed by the story of the formalist age. But many prominent legal professionals in the final quarter of the nineteenth century asserted that everyone knew this theory of judging was a fiction. It was widely recognized that judges made law. 67 Gilmore’s Erroneous Claim about Cardozo Gilmore made yet another telling error.

The claim of our especial code to respect is simply that it exists, that it is the one to which we have become accustomed . . ”75 The second point is that, as Holmes suggests, jurists did not view stare decisis as sacrosanct. “That maxim [stare decisis], although enti- THE “MECHANICAL JURISPRUDENCE” MYTH • 39 tled to great weight, does not furnish an absolute rule which can never be departed from. ”80 “Stare decisis . . 82 The hard part—the always contestable nub of the matter—comes in determining when countervailing considerations are so weighty that a departure is warranted (at the perceived cost of increasing legal uncertainty and diminishing confidence in the law).

Ages has been cited 18 • C H A P T E R 2 in a thousand law review articles and in an unknown number of books,29 often as an authoritative reference on legal formalism. Following Karl Llewellyn (who in turn referred to Pound),30 Gilmore divided American legal thought into three periods. The first period, running from the Revolution to the Civil War, was as an “Age of Discovery,” during which courts flexibly applied rules and principles in a “Grand Style” to adjust law to changing circumstances and to meet social needs.

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