The legal community generally views the way in which judges decide cases as a rational decision process. However, the concept of judicial rationality is ambiguous, because judges use two rational decision processes: legal rationality and economic rationality. Legal rationality is based on the principle of precedent, or stare decisis, which requires that judges decide like cases alike. Judges determine whether cases are like or distinguishable through the construction of legal classifications and through recognition of factual similarities and differences.
When Are Law and Economics Isomorphic?, 39 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.