Cultural Cognition Insights into Judicial Decisionmaking in Employee Benefits Cases
American University Labor & Employment Law Forum, Vol. 3, Issue 1
28 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2012 Last revised: 7 Apr 2013
Date Written: March 11, 2013
This article examines the theory of cultural cognition in a specialized context with implications for judicial decisionmaking. It seeks to investigate how opinion-writing and institutional judicial debiasing strategies may work in practice in the particularly arcane and maddeningly complex area of employee benefits law, under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The proposal advanced here is to professionalize the judicial corps through the establishment of a specialized ERISA court based on the existing bankruptcy court model. This approach will promote opinion-writing, debiasing techniques that reduce the amount of cognitive illiberalism in employee benefits law opinions.
Keywords: cultural cognition, cognitive illiberalism, ERISA, Conkright v. Frommert, debiasing stratgies, ERISA courts
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