Emotion in law scholar to discuss controversial role of "Moral Imagination in Judging"

Professor Susan A. Bandes is widely known as a scholar in the areas of federal jurisdiction, criminal procedure and civil rights, and more recently, as a pioneer in the emerging study of the role of emotion in law. President Obama has often invoked empathy and moral imagination as essential capacities for judges and others who seek a more just society. Critics have charged that these terms are simply code words for liberal judicial activism, and that empathy and moral imagination are at odds with rule of law values. Professor Bandes will consider what it might mean for a judge to exercise the qualities of empathy and moral imagination, paying particular attention to two famous developments in Supreme Court precedent: the Court’s rejection of "separate but equal" in Brown v. Board of Education and its overruling of anti-sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas.

Bandes received her bachelor’s degree from The State University of New York at Buffalo and earned her law degree from the University of Michigan. Her legal career began in 1976 at the Illinois Office of the State Appellate Defender. In 1980, she became staff counsel for the Illinois ACLU, where she litigated a broad spectrum of civil rights cases and helped draft and secure passage of the Illinois Freedom of Information Act. She joined DePaul University College of Law faculty in 1984, and was named Distinguished Research Professor in 2003. Her book on the role of emotion in law, titled The Passions of Law, was published by NYU Press.

Foulston Siefkin LLP has sponsored the lecture series since 1978 to enrich the quality of education at Washburn University School of Law. Articles derived from the lectures are published by the Washburn Law Journal, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.