Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)


The following article is an edited, abridged version of a piece that originally appeared in Mercer Law Review: 39.3 Spring, 1988, pp. 937-960. Reprinted by permission.

In 1930 judge Jerome Frank published his remarkable book Law and the Modern Mind. Frank stated that there is a central myth in law that focuses on our eternal quest for certainty. He linked this with a universal fantasy of childhood wherein infants attribute omniscience and omnipotence to their parents and expect them to know and to do everything. Much of law-making, Frank believed, is a derivative of this childhood need: all humans have great reluctance to accept the fact that life is filled with uncertainty.

This paper will extend Frank's exploration into some of the psychological means that judges use in their efforts to achieve this myth of certainty and to make themselves comfortable while doing so.