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Implicit Bias in Judicial Decision Making How It Affects Judgment and What Judges Can Do About It

Chapter 5: American Bar Association, Enhancing Justice (2017)

Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-16

44 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2017 Last revised: 5 May 2017

Andrew J. Wistrich

California Central District Court

Jeffrey J. Rachlinski

Cornell Law School

Date Written: March 16, 2017

Abstract

This Chapter reviews research indicating that judges, like most adults, rely too heavily on intuition while making important decisions. This tendency leaves them vulnerable to using overly simplistic cognitive strategies to decide cases, which creates predictable, systematic errors in judgment. It can also facilitate a reliance on implicit race and gender biases while deciding cases. Numerous strategies are available that would allow judges to stop and deliberate more carefully. This Chapter also describes these strategies. If adopted, judges would avoid excessive reliance on intuition and implicit biases so as to make better, more just judgments.

Suggested Citation

Wistrich, Andrew J. and Rachlinski , Jeffrey J., Implicit Bias in Judicial Decision Making How It Affects Judgment and What Judges Can Do About It (March 16, 2017). Chapter 5: American Bar Association, Enhancing Justice (2017); Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2934295

Andrew J. Wistrich

California Central District Court ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90012
United States

Jeffrey John Rachlinski (Contact Author)

Cornell Law School ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States
607-255-5878 (Phone)
607-255-7193 (Fax)

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