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58th Annual John R. Coen Lecture

58th Annual John R. Coen Lecture
Featuring: Dan Kahan, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology, Yale Law School

Topic: "Are judges politically biased? An experimental examination."

Yale Law Professor Dan Kahan will deliver a talk on "Are judges politically biased? An experimental examination." This talk follows up on his recent and well-received Harvard Law Review article. See Dan M. Kahan, The Supreme Court 2010 Term--Foreword: Neutral Principles, Motivated Cognition, and Some Problems for Constitutional Law 126 Harv. L. Rev. 1-77 (2011).

The core issue for the legal system is whether the system can produce "neutral" outcomes, and whether political preferences can drive legal decisions. For those concerned with the legal system's commitment to fairness and predictable decision-making, this question has long occupied scholars and practitioners. In practice, moreover, the examination of this issue has tremendous implications for the selection of judges, the nature of legal arguments, and the legitimacy of judicial decisions. This issue also relates to the question as to whether our legal system--and the development of legal doctrine--can remain separate from, and not be tainted by, the polarization now taking hold in our political system. In his talk, Professor Kahan will explain how the professional judgment imparted by legal training and experience confers resistance to making decisions based on political considerations where the decisions involve legal reasoning, highlighting how the legal system can operate apart from politics in at least some cases.

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CLE Credits
General: 1
Ethics: 0