Social Scientists Take the Stand: A Review and Appraisal of Their Testimony in Litigation
“How to inform the judicial mind, as you know, is one of the most complicated problems,” said Justice Frankfurter during argument of the school segregation cases. And as law deals more and more with issues of great public consequence the judiciary’s need for knowledge increases. Much of this knowledge is within the realm of what are called the social sciences.
Although jurisprudents and social scientists have long complained of a gulf between law and social science, little notice has been given to the recent, recurrent collaboration between the two at the trial level. In a variety of cases social scientists’ testimony is playing a role in the shaping of judge-made law and in helping find relevant facts which must be proved under existing rules of law.