This year’s lecture is titled “A New Judge and an Old Problem: A View of Bias from the Bench.” The rule of law depends on independent and fair application of the law, without favor, bias or prejudice. It is the ideal for which the American justice system strives, for which it is celebrated, and – when it falls short – for which it is criticized.
Two years ago, when Judge Schofield became the first Filipina-American Article III judge, she took this ideal for granted. What she has seen is something more nuanced, a system that struggles to overcome the inevitable and long recognized biases of juries and judges. Her talk will address some of the challenges she encounters from her seat on the bench.
As a foundation Judge Schofield will review several types of biases that have been analyzed in the academic literature. Regarding juries, she will discuss the process of selecting the jury and how it attempts to ensure impartiality but targets only explicit bias and those who are “too close.” She will discuss possible changes to voir dire, the part of jury selection that is most flexible and most within my control as the judge. Regarding judges, she will discuss implicit bias, what she thinks it means in the context of being an Asian-American and female judge, and what might be done about it.
This year’s Korematsu Lecture will be held on March 31, 2015 at 6:00 p.m., Vanderbilt Hall, Greenberg Lounge. To RSVP, click here.