Making the Invisible Visible: Exploring Implicit Bias, Judicial Diversity, and the Bench Trial

45 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2019

Date Written: April 19, 2019

Abstract

All people harbor implicit biases—which by definition, are not always consciously recognized. Although trial judges are specifically trained to compartmentalize and shield their decisions from their own biases, implicit biases nonetheless seep into judicial decision making. This article explores various strategies to decrease implicit bias in bench trials. Questions are then raised about whether a judge who has faced bias personally would be more amenable and more open to curbing implicit bias professionally. Ultimately, does diversifying the trial court judiciary minimize implicit bias, while also creating a varied, multidimensional judicial voice comprised of multiple perspectives? This article will explore this potential interplay between diversifying the trial court judiciary and reducing implicit bias, while urging future quantitative research.

Keywords: implicit bias, bench trial, judge, judiciary, bias, diversity, bench

Suggested Citation

Breger, Melissa L., Making the Invisible Visible: Exploring Implicit Bias, Judicial Diversity, and the Bench Trial (April 19, 2019). University of Richmond Law Review, Vol. 53, No. 1039, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3374924

Melissa L. Breger (Contact Author)

Albany Law School ( email )

80 New Scotland Avenue
Albany, NY 12208
United States
518-445-2311 (Phone)

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