Science and Social Science Evidence

AuthorAlan D. Gold
Chapter 9
Science and Social Science Evidence
     evidence can also arise where courts try to obtain and con-
sume ex pert ev idence on the ir own, w ithout the a ssistanc e of an ex pert witne ss.
is has become an issue because in the market expansion of social science evi-
dence, its purveyors have discovered the legal doctrine of judicial notice.
A prominent attempt to enhance the use of social science evidence in gener-
al relies on a categorization of the types of “facts” that courts must  nd. Using
a taxonomy of “social fact” (or adjudicative facts: facts important only to the
immediate parties to a dispute) and “social authority” (legislative facts, or facts
used to help courts decide questions of law and policy), supplemented by “social
framework,” authors Monahan and Walker argue for a categorization of the
evidentiary requirements for each as follows:
Social science research that bears on an adjudicative fact is governed by
the normal rules of evidence. e precedential value of social science
used in this way is limited to the methodology of the social science (e.g.,
the use of standard deviation analysis to establish a prima facie case of
employment discr imination).
“Social authority” evidence and “social framework” can be obtained out-
side the normal rules of evidence.
J. Monahan & L. Walker, “So cial Authority: Obtain ing, Evaluating and Est ablishing
Social Science as L aw” ()  U. Pa. L. R ev. .
As summarized in Judge R . James Willia ms, “e Use of Social Science Ev idence” (un-
dated, Dartmouth , Nova Scotia).

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