November 01, 2017

Science Education for Federal Judges

By Joe S. Cecil

Judges may hesitate when they see that they must consider complex scientific evidence as part of a case. Perhaps this reaction is grounded in some previous unpleasantness when, as a student, they bumped up against calculus or organic chemistry. One judge told us that his struggle with organic chemistry as a pre-med student caused him to change to a liberal arts major. He then went to law school, practiced law, and became a federal judge. “Imagine my surprise,” he recounted, “when my first case turned out to involve DNA identification. I had flashbacks to that organic chemistry class. Fate may not be cruel, but it can have a wicked sense of humor.”

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