Legal Alchemy: The Use and Misuse of Science in the Law
Is scientific information misused by this country’s court system and lawmakers? Today more than ever before, lawyers, politicians, and government administrators are forced to wrestle with scientific research and to employ scientific thinking. The results are often less than enlightened.
In Legal Alchemy, David Faigman explores the ways the American legal system incorporates scientific knowledge into its decision making. Praised by both legal and scientific communities when it first appeared in hardcover, Legal Alchemy shows how science has been used and misused in a variety of settings, including
• The Courtroom—from the O. J. Simpson trial to the Dow Corning silicone breast implant lawsuit to landmark cases such as Roe v. Wade.
• The Legislature—where Congress uses scientific information to help enact legislation about clean air, cloning, and government science projects like the space station and the superconducting super collider.
• Government Agencies—who use science to determine policy on a variety of topics, from regulating sport utility vehicles to reintroducing gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park.
As Faigman describes these and other important cases, he provides disturbing evidence that many judges, juries, and members of Congress simply don’t understand the science behind their decisions. Finally, he offers suggestions on how the science and legal professions can overcome their miscommunication and work together more effectively.
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