Science Court: Past Proposals, Current Considerations, and a Suggested Structure
Andrew W. Jurs
Drake University Law School
March 1, 2010
Virginia Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 15, No. 1, 2010
Drake University Law School Research Paper No. 11-06
The improper bending of scientific opinion by outside influences has been a concern of scholars and commentators for decades. The interference of outside influences with scientific analysis pushed Arthur Kantrowitz in 1967 to propose a procedure for making scientific assessment by non-scientists more objective. The perception of increasing partisan influence in the mid-1970’s led to a vigorous public debate of the Kantrowitz proposal. A critical question of that debate is equally important for the current judicial system: how long will we tolerate the partisan exploitation of scientific uncertainty?
This Article reviews Kantrowitz’s proposal, analyzes its criticisms, and discusses how it ultimately failed to change scientific evaluation methodology. After assessing legal changes that have occurred since Kantrowitz’s proposal, this Article proposes Congress should create a centralized Court of Scientific Jurisdiction to handle complex science and technology cases.
Ultimately, this Article shows that by incorporating expertise into the judiciary, the Court of Scientific Jurisdiction could objectively assess scientific and technological evidence, resulting in more reliable, predictable, and scientifically valid outcomes, without sacrificing due process and fairness.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: Daubert, gatekeeping, expert, science, technology, specialization
Date posted: March 10, 2010 ; Last revised: October 20, 2011