We know very little about the people and institutions that make up the bulk of the United States civil justice system: state judges and state courts.Our understanding of civil justice is based primarily on federal litigationand the decisions of appellate judges. Staggeringly little legalscholarship focuses on state courts and judges. We imply do not know what mostjudges are doing in their day-to-day courtroom roles or in their roles asinstitutional actors and managers of civil justice infrastructure. We know little about the factors that shape and influence judicial practices, let alone the consequences of those practices for courts, litigants, and the public. From top to bottom, we can describe and theorize about our existing civil justice system in only piecemeal ways. Given legal scholarship’s near- complete focus on federal civil courts, the stories we tell about the civil justice system may be based on assumptions and models that only apply in the rarefied world of federal court. Meanwhile, state judges and courts— which handle ninety-nine percent of all civil cases—are ripe for theoretical and empirical exploration.
Studying the "New" Civil Judges, 2018 Wisc. L. Rev. 249 (2018).