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Duke Law

Jurisprudence

Law and Philosophy

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Articles 1 - 5 of 5

Full-Text Articles in Law

Originalism And The Law Of The Past, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Originalism And The Law Of The Past, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Originalism has long been criticized for its “law office history” and other historical sins. But a recent “positive turn” in originalist thought may help make peace between history and law. On this theory, originalism is best understood as a claim about our modern law — which borrows many of its rules, constitutional or otherwise, from the law of the past. Our law happens to be the Founders’ law, unless lawfully changed.

This theory has three important implications for the role of history in law. First, whether and how past law matters today is a question of current law, not of history ...


Grounding Originalism, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Grounding Originalism, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

How should we interpret the Constitution? The “positive turn” in legal scholarship treats constitutional interpretation, like the interpretation of statutes or contracts, as governed by legal rules grounded in actual practice. In our legal system, that practice requires a certain form of originalism: our system’s official story is that we follow the law of the Founding, plus all lawful changes made since.

Or so we’ve argued. Yet this answer produces its own set of questions. How can practice solve our problems, when there are so many theories of law, each giving practice a different role? Why look to ...


Law And Recognition-- Towards A Relational Concept Of Law, Ralf Michaels Jan 2017

Law And Recognition-- Towards A Relational Concept Of Law, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

Law is plural. In all but the simplest situations multiple laws overlap—national laws, subnational laws, supranational laws, non-national laws.

Our jurisprudential accounts of law have mostly not taken this in. When we speak of law, we use the singular. The plurality of laws is, at best an afterthought. This is a mistake. Plurality is built into the very reality of law.

This chapter cannot yet provide this concept; it can serve only develop one element. That element is recognition. Recognition is amply discussed in the context of Hart’s rule of recognition, but this overlooks that recognition matters elsewhere ...


James Dewitt Andrews: Classifying The Law In The Early Twentieth Century*, Richard A. Danner Jan 2017

James Dewitt Andrews: Classifying The Law In The Early Twentieth Century*, Richard A. Danner

Faculty Scholarship

This paper examines the efforts of New York lawyer James DeWitt Andrews and others to create a new classification system for American law in the early years of the twentieth century. Inspired by fragments left by founding father James Wilson, Andrews worked though the American Bar Association and organized independent projects to classify the law. A controversial figure, whose motives were often questioned, Andrews engaged the support and at times the antagonism of prominent legal figures such as John H. Wigmore, Roscoe Pound, and William Howard Taft before his plans ended with the founding of the American Law Institute in ...


Some Reasons Courts Have Become Active Participants In The Search For Ultimate Moral And Political Truth, George C. Christie Jan 2015

Some Reasons Courts Have Become Active Participants In The Search For Ultimate Moral And Political Truth, George C. Christie

Faculty Scholarship

This short essay was prompted by the increasing delegation to courts of the responsibility for deciding what are basically moral questions, such as in litigation involving human rights conventions, as well as the responsibility for deciding basic issues of social policy with at best only the most general guidelines to guide their exercise of judicial discretion. The essay discusses some of the reasons for this delegation of authority and briefly describes how courts have struggled to meet this obligation without transcending accepted notions governing the limits of judicial discretion.