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This article examines the way that "sanist" attitudes (attitudes driven by the same kind of irrational, unconscious and bias-driven stereotypes exhibited in racist and sexist decisionmaking) lead to "pretextual" decisions (in which dishonest testimony is either explicitly or implicitly accepted) in mental disability law jurisprudence. In conjunction with these sanist ends, social science data is teleologically employed by legal decisionmakers, so that it is privileged when it supports a conclusion that the fact-finder wishes to reach but subordinated when it questions such a conclusion. The article examines recent Supreme Court cases in an effort to determine the extent of domination of such sanist behavior, and concludes by offering several prescriptions to scholars and policymakers so as to best avoid sanism's pernicious power.


11 Behavioral Sciences & the Law 47–66 (1993)