The Role of Agency in Arendt's Theory of Judgment: A Principled Approach to Diversity on the Bench

(2004) 3:2 Journal of Law & Equality 165

20 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2013

See all articles by Amy Salyzyn

Amy Salyzyn

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law; University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

This article reflects on Hannah Arendt's work on political judgment in the context of considering judicial diversity. In particular, the author builds off Jennifer Nedelsky's work that, draws from Arendt's work on judgment to argue that a diverse judiciary is necessary for both truly autonomous and optimal judgment. Using Nedelsky's work as a foundation, the article considers one major outstanding question: if diversity is indeed justifiable and essential, is there any principled ground to assist us making choices over which standpoints to include?

In answering this question, the author begins from the supposition that claims for increased judicial diversity contain background assumptions that particular kinds of difference have a special claim to inclusion. She argues that this supposition can be grounded within Arendt's theory of judgment through attention to her understanding of politics. In looking at her theory through such a lens, the author claims that the processes Arendt advocates are motivated by a desire to provide the conditions for the creation of shared narratives. Once examined further, however, it also appears that there is a necessary ethical premise underlying her vision - an equality of agency among community members. The author suggests that a focus on this premise can allow us to accord special status to the claims for inclusion of particular groups who experience a systemic denial of agency.

Keywords: judicial diversity

Suggested Citation

Salyzyn, Amy, The Role of Agency in Arendt's Theory of Judgment: A Principled Approach to Diversity on the Bench (2004). (2004) 3:2 Journal of Law & Equality 165. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2197841

Amy Salyzyn (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Faculty of Law ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur St
Ottawa, Ontario K1N6N5
Canada

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada

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