The Lifelong Oath
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me under the Constitution and laws of the United States.”
This is the oath that every judge has to take before performing the duties of their office. It is a testament to the impartiality and balance each judge must show in their rulings in order to effectively uphold our country’s judicial system.
Judge Lori Dumas believes in this impartiality wholeheartedly. Her 19 years of experience sitting as a judge taught her that it takes constant vigilance. Each judge is still human, with their own experiences and beliefs. So how do you keep it out of the courtroom?
“It’s a very intentional act every single day,” Judge Dumas explains. Without impartiality, there wouldn’t be accurate representation for Pennsylvania. Without impartiality, there wouldn’t be justice.
“I do what I call a heart check,” the Judge says, “before every ruling.” These checks allow Judge Dumas to revisit her reasoning, ensuring every choice she makes is based fundamentally in law, the Constitution, and public policy.
It doesn’t matter how big the case or ruling, every decision matters. Just like a doctor swearing to never do harm, Judge Dumas adheres to this strict standard for justice, especially as they rise up the ranks of the judicial system.
Where many judges stumble, however, is with implicit bias. Not knowing your weaknesses makes it harder to combat them. Through her longevity in the court system, her years of experience making difficult “gray area” rulings, and her honest self-awareness, Judge Dumas has a firm grasp of what it takes to maintain balance and justice.
She’s dealt with difficult attorneys, unruly defendants, impossible scenarios, and long work hours. She’s worked in Family Court, Civil Court, and Criminal Court, seeing a vast array of cases that test precedents and have far-reaching results.
Thanks to this wealth of experience, Judge Dumas has a better grasp on impartiality, fairness, and balance than unseasoned judges and those who have never sat on the Bench. Judge Dumas’s time on the Bench has deepened her dedication to justice and her commitment to fair rulings for Pennsylvania.