ACTS OF EMOTION: ANALYZING CONGRESSIONAL INVOLVEMENT IN THE FEDERAL RULES OF EVIDENCE

Michael J. Teter, Yale Law School

Abstract

The fundamental motivation behind the development of evidentiary rules is distrust of the jury’s ability to weigh certain types of evidence without succumbing to inflamed passions, emotional appeals, or faulty logic. Congress, being equally susceptible to these traits as demonstrated through recent congressional tinkering with the Federal Rules of Evidence, should refrain from direct intervention in amending the very rules that are designed to keep such behavior out of the courtroom.