CBI: Adam Samaha, "Tiebreakers"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 12:15pm
Room I

What is a tiebreaker? Are some tiebreakers better than others? Does law have tiebreakers? Are ties so terrible that we need to break them? In this CBI, Professor Samaha offers answers to these questions. Using various examples from life and law, he will explain how tiebreakers can be thought of as a peculiar sort of lexically inferior decision rule. He will then indicate when tiebreaking decision structures seem appropriate, as well as the trade-offs associated with different kinds of tiebreakers. For instance, randomization is a tiebreaker that is often theoretically attractive but politically infeasible, while using a variable relevant to the merits of a decision is often politically feasible but theoretically flawed. Finally, Professor Samaha will suggest that, in important ways, law is one large and imperfect tiebreaker for the rest of social life.