The Passions of Law

368 pages

May, 2001

ISBN: 9780814713068



Also available in


LawWomen's & Gender Studies

Part of the Critical America series


Susan Bandes is Professor of Law at DePaul University in Chicago.

All books by Susan Bandes

The Passions of Law is the first anthology to treat the role that emotions play, don't play, and ought to play in the practice and conception of law and justice. Lying at the intersection of law, psychology, and philosophy, this emergent field of law scholarship raises some of the most profound and interesting questions at the heart of jurisprudence. For example, what role do emotions ranging from disgust to compassion play in the decision-making processes of judges, lawyers, juries, and clients? What emotions belong in which legal contexts? Is there a hierarchy of emotions, and, if so, through what sources do we identify it? To what extent are emotions subject to change or tutelage? How can we evaluate the role of emotion in such disparate contexts as death sentencing, laws about same sex marriage, hate crime legislation, punitive damages or shaming penalties?

Consisting of original essays by leading scholars of law, theology, political science, and philosophy, The Passions of Law contributes to ongoing efforts to humanize law and reveals how this previously unacknowledged aspect of decision-making exerts a much greater impact on justice and the practice of law than most tend, or like, to think.

Learn more about Susan Bandes


  • "The ostensible polarity between reason and emotion is central to many approaches to law. Susan Bandes offers valuable criticism of this view by noting the important roles that emotion and passion in fact play within the law. She has also brought together an outstanding collection of essays that, by addressing the issue from all perspectives, allows the reader to confront the issue in all of its complexity."

    —Sanford Levinson, coeditor of Constitutional Stupidities/Constitutional Tragedies

  • "This splendid collection of engaging, user-friendly essays reveals in vivid detail how emotions are as much a part of the fabric of law as of the rest of life. Among the verdicts that emerge from these careful explorations is the long-overdue acquittal of passion on the charge of always sabotaging reason and justice."

    —Elizabeth V. Spelman, Professor, Smith College, and author of Fruits of Sorrow: Framing Our Attention to Suffering

  • "An exciting intellectual adventure. If that type of voyage interests you, almost any page of this book will be a trip."

    New York Law Journal

  • "An excellent collection of original essays . . .the current volume shines by being able to introduce these disparate approaches on emotions into a shared discourse."

    The Law and Politics Book Review

  • "A fascinating and wide-ranging series on the role that emotion plays in the legal order."

    —Jack Balkin