Judicial Perspectives on Emotion, Emotion Management, and Judicial Excellence in the USA


  • Jennifer K Elek National Center for State Courts


Judges, judicial education, emotion and judging, Jueces, formación judicial, emociones y trabajo judicial


In the USA, state court judges receive little to no specialized judicial training prior to assuming the duties of office. To support quality judicial performance, states must make strategic use of limited resources. Formal state systems of judicial education have emerged over the past half-century as one solution to this challenge, providing sitting judges in most jurisdictions with some level of educational support. Despite these advancements, some scholars and practitioners have criticized judicial education to date, calling for a new wave of reforms. One recent study explored judicial perceptions of the types of knowledge, skills, abilities, and other characteristics important to judicial work in the state courts. Participating judges acknowledged emotion and interpersonal skills as critical components of judicial excellence (Elek et al. 2017). This paper will examine some of the guidance provided by state court judges in this area and consider opportunities for improvement to better meet judicial needs.

En EEUU, los jueces de las cortes estatales suelen recibir poca o nula formación especializada antes de asumir sus deberes. Durante el pasado medio siglo, han emergido sistemas formales estatales de educación judicial como solución a aquel problema, y se ha proporcionado cierto nivel de formación a los jueces titulares de la mayoría de las jurisdicciones. A pesar de esos avances, algunos expertos han criticado la formación judicial hasta la fecha, y han reclamado una nueva ola de reformas. Un estudio reciente ha analizado las percepciones de los jueces sobre tipos de conocimiento, aptitudes, habilidades y otras características importantes para el trabajo judicial en las cortes estatales. Los jueces reconocieron la emoción y las aptitudes interpersonales como componentes críticos de la excelencia judicial (Elek et al. 2017). Este artículo examinará algunas directrices dadas por los jueces estatales, y tomará en consideración oportunidades para satisfacer mejor las necesidades judiciales.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1033

Author Biography

Jennifer K Elek, National Center for State Courts

Jennifer K. Elek is a senior court research associate at the National Center for State Courts. Her research includes work on systems of judicial professional development; on evidence-based pretrial and sentencing practices, including the use of risk and needs assessment instruments as decision aids; and on strategies to promote fairness and address racial and ethnic disparities in courts. She holds a Ph.D. in experimental psychology.




How to Cite

Elek, J. K. (2018) “Judicial Perspectives on Emotion, Emotion Management, and Judicial Excellence in the USA”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 9(5), pp. 865–879. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/1084 (Accessed: 5 December 2021).



Research Methods, Empirical Insights and [Changing] Judicial Practice