The Federal Rules of Evidence, taken as a whole, represent an ethical system—not just norms, values, or cultural constructs but, moreover, a genuine way of comprehending the world consistent with our best understanding of how it would, if not constrained, truly operate. Underlying each rule are assumptions about the nature and dispositions of lawyers, clients, witnesses, jurors, and judges, as well as the nature of evidence itself. Those assumptions symbolize what the rules’ promulgators understand to be the imperatives of justice in a system peopled by the created, the fallen, and the redeemed. Citing each of the 67 Federal Rules of Evidence, this article explores the rules’ symbolism as a way of synthesizing them while revealing and evaluating our foundational common understandings about those whom they govern.
- federal rules,
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