"Emotion pervades the law. [....] In the conventional story, emotion has a certain, narrowly defined place in law. It is assigned to the criminal courts. It is confined to those--like witnesses, the accused, the public--without legal training. In this story, there is a finite list of law-related emotions--anger, compassion, mercy, vengeance, hatred--and each emotion has a proper role and a fixed definition. And it is crucially important to narrowly delineate that finite list and those proper roles, so that emotion doesn't encroach on the true preserve of law: which is reason. [But] the law [in general] is imbued with emotion. Not just the obvious emotions like mercy and the desire for vengeance but disgust, romantic love, bitterness, uneasiness, fear, resentment, cowardice, vindictiveness, forgiveness, contempt, remorse, sympathy, hatred, spite, malice, shame, respect, moral fervor, and the passion for justice. Emotion pervades not just the criminal courts, with their heat-of-passion and insanity defenses and their angry or compassionate jurors but the civil courtrooms, the appellate courtrooms, the legislatures. It propels judges and lawyers, as well as jurors, litigants, and the lay public. Indeed, the emotions that pervade law are often so ancient and deeply ingrained that they are largely invisible."
Perhaps needless to say, the study of emotions, like the study of social norms to which it is intimately related, has become an important area of research in the legal academy. And that is as it should be.
[Forthcoming anon here at Ratio Juris, the compilation for Animal Ethics, Rights & Law.]