No Magic Wand

Overview

Since 1993, Supreme Court precedent has asked judges to serve as gatekeepers to their expert witnesses, admitting only reliable scientific testimony. Lacking a strong background in science, however, some judges admit dubious scientific testimony packages by articulate practitioners, while others reject reliable evidence that is unreasonably portrayed as full of holes. Seeking a balance between undue deference and undeserved skepticism, Caudill and LaRue draw on the philosophy of science to help judges, juries, ...

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Overview

Since 1993, Supreme Court precedent has asked judges to serve as gatekeepers to their expert witnesses, admitting only reliable scientific testimony. Lacking a strong background in science, however, some judges admit dubious scientific testimony packages by articulate practitioners, while others reject reliable evidence that is unreasonably portrayed as full of holes. Seeking a balance between undue deference and undeserved skepticism, Caudill and LaRue draw on the philosophy of science to help judges, juries, and advocates better understand its goals and limitations.

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Editorial Reviews

Law and Politics Book Review
On the whole, No Magic Wand is readable and interesting. It is useful in that it provides specific examples from cases to show how various judges have interpreted the Daubert criteria. The book will be more useful to those less familiar with the problems associated with using scientific evidence in the courtroom.
Simon A. Cole
Legal actors' understanding of how scientific knowledge is produced is a matter of immense and increasing importance in contemporary society. Caudill and LaRue make a significant contribution to this debate by drawing on science studies research as a prophylactic against the temptation to adopt idealized or "romantic," as they call them, images of scientific activity. No Magic Wand demonstrates that bringing a science studies perspective to bear on legal problems leads, not to meaningless relativism, but to a profoundly pragmatic approach to assessing the value of knowledge claims that invoke the mantle of science.
Richard E. Redding
No Magic Wand is a tour-de-force that bridges the gap between jurisprudence and science studies. Caudill and LaRue successfully illustrate how law idealizes science and the problems this causes for the courts as well as for science. In this "brave new world" after the Supreme Court's decision in Daubert, their solution—that courts view science as a pragmatic activity—will resonate both with scientists and lawyers. Every judge and lawyer grappling with scientific evidence, and every scientist testifying in court, should read this book.
Richard A. Posner
Caudill and LaRue have written an erudite, deeply considered, and highly readable account of the tension between the two cultures of law and science, the tendency of lawyers and judges to oscillate between credulity and dismissiveness when confronted by scientific testimony, and the need in short for legal professionals to acquire a more accurate understanding of the strengths and limitations of science in the legal process.
Journal of Law & Politics
On the whole, No Magic Wand is readable and interesting. It is useful in that it provides specific examples from cases to show how various judges have interpreted the Daubert criteria. The book will be more useful to those less familiar with the problems associated with using scientific evidence in the courtroom.
Ronald L. Carlson
In No Magic Wand, Caudill and LaRue impart valuable wisdom for the beginner as well as the advanced legal scholar. Coverage ranges from the basics — the current tests for scientific and technical evidence — to the most sophisticated questions raised by commentators on forensic jurisprudence. The debate over how much courts should defer to experts is a key issue in the "science wars," and the treatment of it in Chapter Three is trenchant and profound. This book is a must read for lawyers, professors, or judges who are seeking to come to grips with the scientific processes in the courtroom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742550230
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/28/2006
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 170
  • Product dimensions: 0.36 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David S. Caudill is a professor of law at Washington & Lee University School of Law. He is the author of Property: Cases, Documents, and Lawyering Strategies (2004). Lewis H. LaRue is also a professor of law at Washington & Lee University School of Law. He is the author of Constitutional Law as Fiction: Narrative in the Rhetoric of Authority (1995).

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 1. What's the Problem? Chapter 3 2. On Judges Who Are Too Strict Chapter 4 3. On Judges Who Are Too Gullible Chapter 5 4. The Idealizations of Legal Scholars Chapter 6 5. Science is a Pragmatic Activity Chapter 7 6. Science Studies for Law

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