Diane P. Wood,
When to Hold, When to Fold, and When to Reshuffle: The Art of Decisionmaking on a Multi-Member Court,
100 Cal. L. Rev. 1445
Available at: http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/californialawreview/vol100/iss6/4
This Essay explores the instrumental and normative considerations that prompt judges to publish separate opinions. After discussing the traditions of separate writing in American judicial practice, the author provides a contemporary judge's perspective on the aims of separate opinions and on the cost-benefit analysis that judges invariably undertake when contemplating whether to write a concurrence or dissent. Turning to her own work on the Seventh Circuit, the author then identifies three broad categories of dissents she has penned over the past sixteen years: "principle-based dissents," "process-based dissents," and "accuracy-focused dissents." The Essay concludes by suggesting that a more forthright appraisal of the dynamics of decisionmaking on multi-member courts could benefit the judicial system as a whole.