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NCJ Number: 69115 Find in a Library
Title: SEDUCTION OF THE JUDICIARY - SOCIAL SCIENCE AND THE COURTS
Journal: JUDICATURE  Volume:64  Issue:1  Dated:(JUNE/JULY 1980)  Pages:8-21
Author(s): D M O'BRIEN
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 14
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE GROWING INFLUENCE OF THE SOCIAL SCIENCES ON COURT DECISIONS IS CRITICIZED AS UNRELIABLE, EXPENSIVE, UNACCEPTABLE FROM A JURISPRUDENTIAL POINT OF VIEW, AND PERNICIOUS TO CIVIL LIBERTIES.
Abstract: THE ARGUMENT IS DIRECTED AGAINST THE WIDESPREAD OPINION AMONG LEGAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE EXPERTS THAT LAWYERS AND JUDGES SHOULD DEFER TO SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE AND SHOULD DELEGATE SOCIAL FACTFINDING TASKS TO A BODY OF SCIENTIFIC EXPERTS WHO ACT AS AN ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE COURTS. HOWEVER, SINCE PRESENT SOCIAL SCIENCE FINDINGS AND METHODS ARE OFTEN INCONSISTENT, DIVERGENT, AND OPEN TO DISAGREEMENT AND CHANGE, LEGAL EXPERTS WOULD HAVE DIFFICULTIES IN SELECTING RELIABLE, UNBIASED STUDIES. THE ADDITIONAL ADMINISTRATIVE BURDENS PLACED ON JUDGES AND THE INCREASED COST OF STAFFING THESE AGENCIES ARE OTHER ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE PRACTICAL IMPLEMENTATION OF SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY COUNCILS. JURESPRUDES ALSO ARGUE THAT, WHILE SOCIAL SCIENCE MATERIAL MAY CONTRIBUTE TO FACTFINDING AND THE CLARIFICATION OF ISSUES, JUDICIAL DECISIONS REQUIRE THE IMPARTIAL, CONSISTENT, AND NEUTRAL APPLICATION OF LEGAL PRINCIPLES. FROM A CIVIL LIBERTARIAN'S POINT OF VIEW, THREE CONCERNS ABOUT SOCIAL SCIENCE PREMISES CONCERNING CONSTITUTIONAL RULINGS ARE PARAMOUNT: (1) USE OF EMPIRICAL DATA MAY NOT FURTHER LIBERTARIAN OBJECTIVES; (2) THE STATUS OF CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS MAY ACTUALLY BECOME MORE UNCERTAIN; AND (3) THE SUPREME COURT MAY TRANSFORM CONSTITUTIONAL INTERPRETATION INTO A KIND OF 'CONSTITUTIONAL COMMON LAW,' WHICH IS FUNDAMENTALLY OPPOSED TO THE WRITTEN CONSTITUTION. THE ARTICLE INCLUDES NUMEROUS FOOTNOTES.
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Decisionmaking; Expert witnesses; Judicial process; Jurisprudence
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=69115

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