How Judges Judge: The Role of Personal Values in Judicial Decisions

TUE, MAY 19, 2015 (00:00)

Do judges bring their personal histories to bear when ruling on cases? With rulings that can change lives, shift policy or alter the course of history, what is the role of personal experience and perspective in judicial decisions?

(Photo: Pixbay)

+ BIO: Frederick M. Lawrence

Frederick M. Lawrence became the eighth president of Brandeis University on Jan. 1, 2011. Lawrence is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression and bias crimes. Prior to Brandeis, Lawrence was dean and Robert Kramer Research Professor of Law at George Washington University Law School. Lawrence received a bachelor’s degree from Williams College and a law degree from Yale Law School. Upon completing his term as President of Brandeis this spring, he will become a Senior Research Scholar at Yale Law School.

+ BIO: Justice Salim Joubran

Justice Salim Joubran is the first Arab Israeli to serve a permanent appointment to the Supreme Court of Israel. He serves as Chairperson of the Central Elections Committee to the 20th Knesset. Prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Joubran was a Judge of the District Court and the Magistrate Court in Haifa.

+ BIO: Nancy Gertner

Judge Nancy Gertner was appointed to the United States District Court by President Clinton in 1994, and served on the federal bench until her retirement in 2011, when she joined the faculty of Harvard Law School.

Gertner received her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College in 1967 and received an M.A. and a J.D. from Yale University in 1971. She was nominated to the U.S. District Court by President Bill Clinton on October 27, 1993 and confirmed by the Senate on February 10, 1994. Prior to her appointment, Gertner was in private practice in Boston, Massachusetts, and was most well known for her work as a criminal defense and civil rights lawyer. As both a judge and a private attorney, her career has been marked by controversial cases including abortion, race as a factor in jury selection, and the constitutionality of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Judge Gertner has received numerous awards for her judicial excellence, including becoming, in 2008, only the second woman ever awarded the Thurgood Marshall Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities (Justice Ginsburg was the first). She has written and spoken widely on various legal issues concerning civil rights, civil liberties, employment, criminal justice and procedural issues, throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

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