Thursday, July 21, 2016

More Empathic Judges?

Being a judge making decisions affecting other people's lives in profound ways is an extraordinary responsibility.  Some judges would hold the idea of allowing emotions to enter into their decision making in the cases they preside over as a violation of their integrity.  But judges are human beings and for human beings, whether we are aware of it or not, emotions are an integral part of our decision making process.  There is no such thing as pure impartiality.  We all have biases.  No fault there.  It's just part of the human condition.  But we do have a responsibility to become aware of them so that they don't run the show unmonitored.

Judges have to be allowed the room to imagine themselves into the shoes of the parties involved in the cases they preside over.  They can't begin to find their way to fair and just decisions without that. Trying to do that job relying only on mental constructs -laws written by people far removed from the situation at hand - is an inherently flawed approach.

We're a long way off from a justice system that really works in a fair and constructive way.  But in the long run what we need are judges who are fully developed human beings able to bring their minds and their hearts together in ways that allow for all the human dimensions involved in a case to be considered together in arriving at a decision that makes sense.

To read more click, 'Any of those experiences are going to make someone a better judge.'

Covey Cowan, San Francisco, California