CAMLAW: Complementary and Alternative Medicine Law Blog

Law and Economics Professor Posner's Opinions Now Online

Boing Boing reported that legal decisions by the famous Judge Posner are now searchable on-line.

According to the piece, written by Columbia Law professor, Tim Wu:

"Project Posner is a free and fully searchable database of Judge Richard Posner's 2100+ opinions. It is one of a very tiny handful of free legal case searches on the internet right now.
The law supposedly belongs to the people, but it can be surprisingly hard to find. American case reports -- which are the real law of the nation -- are hard to get at, and even when on the internet, rarely searchable. To get real access you generally need a Westlaw subscription which costs a small fortune. Wikilaw is a great effort to try and change this, but it is still primitive."

Wu calls Posner "arguably the most influential judge in the nation." Certainly one of the most innovative. You either buy his law and economics approach or your don't.

Here's a prototypical Posner quote: "The parties have divergent interests, but they can be expected to negotiate to the solution that maximizes the net benefits of their relationship." (citing Coase)(Chrysler Corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Kolosso Auto Sales, Inc., Defendant-Appellee, 148 F.3d 892 (7th Cir. 1998).

Posner has a certain compelling perspective in arguing that perspective from economics not only should, but also inevitably do underline all judicial decision-making. In short, costs and benefits, and allocation of risk, form the bedrock of all our social concerns. Taken too far that can be as reductionistic as Freud arguing that the sole human motivation is avoiding pain and producing pleasure. Nothing is that simple; but Posner is rarely that reductionistic, and he has a brilliant mind, so finding the searchable Posner is valuable contribution to legal jurisprudence -- and invaluable if you are before a judge you know thinks in a "Posnerian" fashion.

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