Professor S.I. Strong recently gave the keynote presentation in a symposium entitled “Law in the Post-Truth Era,” convened by the Robert J. Dole Center for Law and Government at Washburn University School of Law, along with the Washburn Law Journal and the Center for Excellence in Advocacy.
Professor Strong’s presentation expanded on subjects discussed in her article, “Alternative Facts and the Post-Truth Society: Meeting the Challenge,” 165 University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online 137 (2017).
An article about the symposium in the Topeka Capital-Journal, reported that Professor Strong talked about different types of conflicts, such as value, relationship, interest, structural and data conflicts. And that though data conflicts were often the easiest to resolve, that is no longer the case.
“In a post-truth society,” she said, “things like the size of inauguration crowds are no longer considered data conflicts. They now move possibly into the realm of value conflicts. … We’re starting to move away from a common grounding of certain objective facts that we can agree upon. We’re looking at the sources of information. We’re looking at emotion as opposed to empirical facts.
“This is really problematic for lawyers, whether we’re being advocates or whether we’re being policymakers. Empirical evidence and that concept of hard evidence drives everything that we do. When we go to a jury, we’re not supposed to be arguing emotion. We’re supposed to be arguing facts.”