Replaying the Past: Roles for Emotion in Judicial Invocations of Legislative History, and Precedent

Authors

  • Emily Kidd White York University

Keywords:

Emotions, Law and Emotions, Judging, Legal Reasoning, Constitutional Rights, Emociones, derecho y emociones, juzgar, razonamiento jurídico, derechos constitucionales

Abstract

Legal reasoning in the common law tradition requires judges to draw on concepts, and examples that are meant to resonate with a particular emotional import and operate in judicial reasoning as though they do. Judicial applications of constitutional rights are regularly interpreted by reference to past violations (either through precedent, contextual framings, and/or legislative history), which in turn elicit a series of emotions which work to deepen and intensify judicial understandings of a right guarantee (freedom of association, freedom of expression, equality, security of the person, etc.). This paper examines the way in which invocations of past political histories, and rights abuses (however ill or well-defined), work to conjure up a set of service emotions (emotions which work to establish a particular frame of mind), which guide judicial applications of doctrine in cases concerning an alleged violation of a constitutional right.

El razonamiento jurídico en la tradición de derecho consuetudinario exige que los jueces partan de conceptos y de ejemplos que se supone se hacen eco de un significado emocional concreto y que, en el razonamiento judicial, operan como si de hecho así fuera. La aplicación judicial de derechos constitucionales se interpreta generalmente por medio de referencias a delitos anteriores (a través de encuadres contextuales precedentes o bien a través de la historia legislativa), lo que, a su vez, invoca una serie de emociones que profundizan e intensifican la interpretación judicial de una garantía jurídica (libertad de asociación, libertad de expresión, igualdad, seguridad de la persona, etc.). Este artículo analiza la forma en que las invocaciones a la historia política o a abusos de derechos (por mal o bien definidos que estén) sirven para formar un conjunto de emociones de servicio (que sirven para establecer un estado de ánimo concreto), que guían la aplicación judicial de la doctrina en casos de presuntas violaciones de derechos constitucionales.

Available from: https://doi.org/10.35295/osls.iisl/0000-0000-0000-1105

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How to Cite

White, E. K. (2019) “Replaying the Past: Roles for Emotion in Judicial Invocations of Legislative History, and Precedent”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 9(5), pp. 577–595. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/1154 (Accessed: 5 December 2021).

Issue

Section

Theoretical, Cultural and Historical Perspectives