Posner, Richard Allen

Posner, Richard Allen pōz´nər [key], 1939–, American jurist and author, b. New York City, grad. Yale (A.B., 1959), Harvard Law School (LL.B., 1962). He clerked for Supreme Court Justice William Brennan and was an assistant at the Federal Trade Commission (1963–65) and to the solicitor general (1966–68) before becoming (1968) an associate professor at Stanford Law School and a professor (1969) at the Univ. of Chicago Law School. Remaining at Chicago as a senior lecturer, he was appointed (1981) to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and served (1993–2000) as its chief judge. Unconventional, influential, and pragmatically conservative as a judicial activist and a legal theorist, Posner is especially known for his advocacy of an economic approach to law. He has written hundreds of articles and almost 40 books on a wide range of subjects. His books include Economic Analysis of Law (1972 6th ed., 2003), Antitrust Law (1976), Law and Literature (1988, repr. 1998), Problems of Jurisprudence (1990), Sex and Reason (1992), The Federal Courts (1996), Catastrophe: Risk and Response (2004), Preventing Surprise Attacks (2005), and Not a Suicide Pact: The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency (2006). In a repudiation of some of his former opinions, A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent into Depression (2009) proposed that overreliance on deregulation and reckless monetary policies contributed significantly to the crisis and faulted conservative economists for their blindness to the subprime problem. The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy (2010) also looks critically at the same crisis, taking a longer view of the system and of issues of economic collapse and gradual recovery. Reflections on Judging (2013) analyzes judicial changes since he became a judge (1981) in it he rejects legal formalism and calls for a renewed consideration of context and a commitment to legal realism.

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