Anne E. Mullins

Document Type


Subject Area

Special Section


The vast majority of current scholarship on judicial writing neither acknowledges nor explores the unconscious, intuitive side of the reader. The conception of readers as only conscious and analytical is fundamentally flawed. Further, the flaw is foundational because it has kept scholars of judicial opinion writing from engaging fully with their subject. Acknowledging the unconscious and intuitive side of the reader opens rich opportunities in the scholarly dialogue about judicial opinion writing.

The current conception of the judicial opinion reader is limited. Part II explores the current scholarship on judicial opinion writing and shows that the traditional conception of the reader is conscious and analytical. As a result, the assumption is that judges persuade the reader through solid legal analysis alone. Part III explains that according to modern psychology, people actually employ two systems of thinking, one conscious and analytical and the other unconscious and intuitive. Both minds work simultaneously, and judicial opinion readers use both as they read. Part IV explores the implications of a dualsystem judicial opinion reader.

Included in

Law Commons