Michelle Vos and Jeff Lingwall from the Department of Management presented “Correlation, Causation, and Constitutional Scrutiny Analysis” at the Academy of Legal Studies in Business annual conference, which was held virtually.
Vos and Lingwall chose this research topic because of their interest in examining how courts use statistical evidence. They discovered that courts have a different perspective on social science issues than many social scientists.
“Anytime a government entity passes a law that potentially infringes on a constitutional right, that law gets subject to scrutiny if challenged in court,” said Lingwall. “To survive a court challenge, the law must link to a certain government purpose in specific ways. Often, that link is through statistical evidence: showing that if the government does X, then Y will likely result. Our article will help courts evaluate the statistical evidence for that link in a sound and consistent manner.”
Vos added that “law school teaches future attorneys and judges the art of legal reasoning, but you will be hard-pressed to find a law course that connects the use of statistical information with legal reasoning. This article aims to clarify how statistical evidence should be evaluated, so that attorneys and judges can successfully navigate through this unfamiliar territory.”