Monthly Archives: June 2016

The Supreme Court’s Intuition

I’ve noticed over the years that, at least with regard to judicial disqualification, the Supreme Court has a penchant for making interesting assertions about human psychology, but then failing to provide an empirical basis for its claims — a matter I discuss in more detail with regard to the Court’s recent decision in Pennsylvania v. Williams in a new blog post on the New England Law faculty website, On Remand.

Update: 06/23/16:  Others have written more extensively about the role of unconscious bias with regard to judicial recusal and disqualification.  For some of the scholarship in this area, see:

Debra Lyn Bassett, Three Reasons Why the Challenged Judge Should Not Rule on A Judicial Recusal Motion, 18 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y 659 (2015)

 Melinda A. Marbes, Reshaping Recusal Procedures: Eliminating Decisionmaker Bias and Promoting Public Confidence, 49 Val. U. L. Rev. 807 (2015)

 Melinda A. Marbes, Refocusing Recusals: How the Bias Blind Spot Affects Disqualification Disputes and Should Reshape Recusal Reform, 32 St. Louis U. Pub. L. Rev. 235 (2013)

 Debra Lyn Bassett & Rex R. Perschbacher, The Elusive Goal of Impartiality, 97 Iowa L. Rev. 181 (2011)

Ethics By Design


Many of the leading researchers and scholars in the area of behavioral ethics and systems design gathered last week at a conference held by  Entitled “Ethics By Design,” the conference focused on business ethics, but much of what was discussed has direct applicability to the world of Behavioral Legal Ethics. Luckily for those of us who were not in attendance, videos of the conference presentations are now available here.  Thanks for your leadership and work in the field!

Update: 6/17/16:  For those not familiar with the work of or its approach, the introduction to the conference by the organization’s founder, Jonathan Haidt, is a great introduction: