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NCJ Number: 51890 Find in a Library
Title: SOCIAL SCIENCE AND JUDICIAL POLICY MAKING (FROM USING SOCIAL RESEARCH IN PUBLIC POLICY MAKING, 1978, BY CAROL H WEISS)
Author(s): P L ROSEN
Corporate Author: Lexington Books
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Lexington Books
New York, NY 10022
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE SUPREME COURT'S USE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE, WITH BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION, IS TRACED. FACTORS MITIGATING AGAINST JUDICIAL USE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE AND TRENDS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE USE ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: ALTHOUGH THE U.S. SUPREME COURT'S DECISIONS HAVE CONSISTENTLY INFLUENCED SOCIAL POLICY, IT WAS NOT UNTIL THE BROWN CASE, 1954, THAT THE JUSTICES RECOGNIZED OFFICIALLY THE SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF JUDICIAL DECISIONS. BEFORE THAT TIME, THE COURTS TENDED TO START WITH AN ABSTRACT PRINCIPLE OF LAW AND REASONED THEIR WAY TO A FINAL DECISION. IN BROWN, SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH WAS QUOTED AS A STARTING POINT FOR THE ULTIMATE INTERPRETATION OF ABSTRACT LAW. A FLOOD OF CRITICISM SURROUNDED THIS APPROACH, AND TRADITIONALISTS ARGUED THAT SOCIAL SCIENCES DATA HAD NO PLACE IN A JUDICIAL DECISION. SINCE THAT TIME, SOCIAL SCIENCE AND LAW HAVE HAD LITTLE IMPACT ON EACH OTHER. THIS IS DUE TO THE DIVERGENT NATURE OF THE TWO DISCIPLINES, THE JUDICIARY'S LIMITED RESOURCES FOR FACT FINDING IN THE SOCIAL MEDIAN ALLOCATION OF OFFICERS TO PATROL DUTIES IS DATA, AND THE INABILITY OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES TO PROVIDE 'OVERWHELMING' EVIDENCE. ALSO SOCIAL SCIENTISTS WHO BECOME EMBROILED IN ADVERSARY PROCEEDINGS OFTEN ARE PER 100 OFFICERS RANGED BETWEEN A LOW OF 1.3 TO A HIGH AND PRESENT ONLY FAVORABLE DATA. THIS CAN LEAD TO A 'BATTLE OF THE EXPERTS,' WHICH DOES LITTLE TO ENHANCE THE STANDING OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES IN THE EYES OF THE LAW. A FEW CASES HAVE USED SOCIAL SCIENCE FINDINGS EFFECTIVELY. IN UNITED STATES V. KRASS AND IN CHALLENGES TO NEW YORK STATE WELFARE REGULATIONS TESTIMONY BY SOCIOLOGISTS PROVED INSTRUMENTAL IN UPHOLDING THE RIGHTS OF THE POOR. THE POTENTIAL FOR THIS TYPE OF TESTIMONY IS CALLED GREAT IF IMPROVED DIALOGUE BETWEEN LAW AND THE SOCIAL SCIENCES CAN BE ACHIEVED. NOTES ARE APPENDED. (GLR)
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Expert witnesses; Testimony; US Supreme Court
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=51890

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