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Columbia Law School

Jurisprudence

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Choice Theory: A Restatement, Michael A. Heller, Hanoch Dagan Jan 2019

Choice Theory: A Restatement, Michael A. Heller, Hanoch Dagan

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter restates choice theory, which advances a liberal approach to contract law. First, we refine the concept of autonomy for contract. Then we address range, limit, and floor, three principles that together justify contract law in a liberal society. The first concerns the state’s obligation to be proactive in facilitating the availability of a multiplicity of contract types. The second refers to the respect contract law owes to the autonomy of a party’s future self, that is, to the ability to re-write the story of one’s life. The final principle concerns relational justice, the baseline for ...


Justice And Accountability: Activist Judging In The Light Of Democratic Constitutionalism And Democratic Experimentalism, William H. Simon Jan 2016

Justice And Accountability: Activist Judging In The Light Of Democratic Constitutionalism And Democratic Experimentalism, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

This essay examines the charge that activist judging is inconsistent with democracy in the light of two recent perspectives in legal scholarship. The perspectives – Democratic Constitutionalism and Democratic Experimentalism – suggest in convergent and complementary ways that the charge ignores or oversimplifies relevant features of both judging and democracy. In particular, the charge exaggerates the pre-emptive effect of activist judging, and it implausibly conflates democracy with electoral processes. In addition, it understands consensus as a basis for judicial legitimacy solely in terms of pre-existing agreement and ignores the contingent legitimacy that can arise from the potential for subsequent agreement.


Judicial Leadership In Family Court: A Cautionary Tale, Jane M. Spinak Jan 2014

Judicial Leadership In Family Court: A Cautionary Tale, Jane M. Spinak

Faculty Scholarship

This article is based on the Charles Miller Endowed Lecture given at the University of Tennessee College of Law in April 2014 and forms the core of a chapter about judicial leadership in the family court in a planned book about the court. A central element of the historical juvenile court and the ensuing family courts has been the role of the judge as a judicial leader, shouldering responsibilities, including therapeutic ones, far beyond those of the traditional legal decision-maker. These multiple roles – as investigator, collaborator, convener, advocate, mediator, and problem-solver – have given the family court judge tremendous power to ...


Dignifying Rights: A Comment On Jeremy Waldron’S Dignity, Rights, And Responsibilities, Katherine M. Franke Jan 2011

Dignifying Rights: A Comment On Jeremy Waldron’S Dignity, Rights, And Responsibilities, Katherine M. Franke

Faculty Scholarship

This essay offers a commentary on Jeremy Waldron’s Shoen Lecture, Dignity, Rights, and Responsibilities, delivered at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in October of 2011. The Shoen Lecture, building on Waldron’s account of the relation of rights and dignity set out in the 2009 Tanner Lectures, provides a robust conception of human dignity based not on the inherent moral worth of each human person, but rather on a notion of status or rank. The most compelling contribution of Waldron’s new paper is his careful unbraiding of the complex relationship of ...


Justice Stevens And The Obligations Of Judgment, David Pozen Jan 2011

Justice Stevens And The Obligations Of Judgment, David Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

How to sum up a corpus of opinions that spans dozens of legal fields and four decades on the bench? How to make the most sense of a jurisprudence that has always been resistant to classification, by a jurist widely believed to have "no discernible judicial philosophy"? These questions have stirred Justice Stevens' former clerks in recent months. Since his retirement, many of us have been trying to capture in some meaningful if partial way what we found vital and praiseworthy in his approach to the law. There may be something paradoxical about the attempt to encapsulate in a formula ...


Philosophical Legal Ethics: Ethics, Morals, And Jurisprudence, Alice Woolley, W. Bradley Wendel, William H. Simon, Stephen Pepper, Daniel Markovitz, Katherine R. Kruse, Tim Dare Jan 2010

Philosophical Legal Ethics: Ethics, Morals, And Jurisprudence, Alice Woolley, W. Bradley Wendel, William H. Simon, Stephen Pepper, Daniel Markovitz, Katherine R. Kruse, Tim Dare

Faculty Scholarship

The authors and moderator David Luban participated in a plenary session of the International Legal Ethics Conference IV, held at Stanford. Each author answered and discussed questions arising from short papers they had written about the principal concern of legal ethics was the morality of lawyers, the morality of clients, or the morality of laws?

Those papers, which are to be published in Legal Ethics, are compiled here, along with the question and background information with which the panelists were provided.


Facial And As-Applied Challenges Under The Roberts Court, Gillian E. Metzger Jan 2009

Facial And As-Applied Challenges Under The Roberts Court, Gillian E. Metzger

Faculty Scholarship

One recurring theme of the early Roberts Court's jurisprudence to date is its resistance to facial constitutional challenges and preference for as-applied litigation. On a number of occasions the Court has rejected facial constitutional challenges while reserving the possibility that narrower as-applied claims might succeed. Unfortunately, the Roberts Court has not matched its consistency in preferring as-applied constitutional adjudication with clarity about what this preference means in practice. The Court itself has noted that it remains divided over the appropriate test to govern when facial challenges are available. Equally or more important, the Court has made little effort to ...


Reason, Reasons And Normativity, Joseph Raz Jan 2008

Reason, Reasons And Normativity, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

All normative phenomena are normative in as much as, and because, they provide reasons or are partly constituted by reasons. This makes the concept of a reason key to an understanding of normativity. Believing that, I will here present some thoughts about the connection between reasons and Reason and between Reason and normativity.


The Argument From Justice, Or How Not To Reply To Legal Positivism, Joseph Raz Jan 2007

The Argument From Justice, Or How Not To Reply To Legal Positivism, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

Professor Robert Alexy wrote a book whose avowed purpose is to refute the basic tenets of a type of legal theory which 'has long since been obsolete in legal science and practice'. The quotation is from the German Federal Constitutional Court in 1968. The fact that Prof Alexy himself mentions no writings in the legal positivist tradition [in English] later than Hart's The Concept of Law (1961) may suggest that he shares the court's view. The book itself may be evidence to the contrary. After all why flog a dead horse? Why write a book to refute a ...


The Practice Of Value – Reply, Joseph Raz Jan 2007

The Practice Of Value – Reply, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

The privilege of having three sets of extensive and hard-hitting comments on one's work is as welcome as it is rare, and especially so on this occasion as the lectures were, for me, but the first (well, not entirely first) stab at a subject I hope to explore at greater length. The reflections that follow will respond to some of the criticisms, but will not be a point by point reply. I will use the occasion to clarify some obscurities in the lectures, and to contrast my view with some of my critics' own positions. I will proceed thematically ...


Human Rights Without Foundations, Joseph Raz Jan 2007

Human Rights Without Foundations, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

Using the accounts of Gewirth and Griffin as examples, the article criticises accounts of human rights as those are understood in human rights practices, which regard them as rights all human beings have in virtue of their humanity. Instead it suggests that (with Rawls) human rights set the limits to the sovereignty of the state, but criticises Rawls conflation of sovereignty with legitimate authority. The resulting conception takes human rights, like other rights, to be contingent on social conditions, and in particular on the nature of the international system.


Reasons: Explanatory And Normative, Joseph Raz Jan 2007

Reasons: Explanatory And Normative, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

A thesis familiar by being as often disputed as defended has it that intentional action is action for a reason. The present paper contributes to the defence of a weaker version of it, namely: Acting with an intention or a purpose is acting (as things appear to one) for a reason.


Reasons: Practical And Adaptive, Joseph Raz Jan 2007

Reasons: Practical And Adaptive, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

The paper argues that normative reasons are of two fundamental kinds, practical which are value related, and adaptive, which are not related to any value, but indicate how our beliefs and emotions should adjust to fit how things are in the world. The distinction is applied and defended, in part through an additional distinction between standard and non-standard reasons (for actions, intentions, emotions or belief).


Can There Be A Theory Of Law?, Joseph Raz Jan 2007

Can There Be A Theory Of Law?, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

The paper deals with the possibility of a theory of the nature of law as such, a theory which will be necessarily true of all law. It explores the relations between explanations of concepts and of the things they are concepts of, the possibility that the law has essential properties, and the possibility that the law changes its nature over time, and that what is law at a given place and time depends on the culture and concepts of that place and time. It also considers the possibility of understanding the institutions, such as the law, of cultures whose concepts ...


The Problem Of Authority: Revisiting The Service Conception, Joseph Raz Jan 2006

The Problem Of Authority: Revisiting The Service Conception, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

The problem I have in mind is the problem of the possible justification of subjecting one's will to that of another, and of the normative standing of demands to do so. The account of authority that I offered, many years ago, under the title of the service conception of authority, addressed this issue, and assumed that all other problems regarding authority are subsumed under it. Many found the account implausible. It is thin, relying on very few ideas. It may well appear to be too thin, and to depart too far from many of the ideas that have gained ...


Toyota Jurisprudence: Legal Theory And Rolling Rule Regimes, William H. Simon Jan 2004

Toyota Jurisprudence: Legal Theory And Rolling Rule Regimes, William H. Simon

Faculty Scholarship

The engineering ideas associated with the Toyota Production System form a model of social organization that departs from bedrock assumptions of mainstream legal thought in both its rights-and-principles and law-and-economics variants.

In contrast to mainstream thought, the Toyota system (1) emphasizes the goals of learning and innovation (rather than of dispute resolution and the vindication of established norms and preferences), (2) combines the normative explicitness associated with formal rules with the continuous adjustment to particularity associated with informal norms (no dialectic of rules and standards), (3) treats normative decisionmaking in hard cases as presumptively collective and interdisciplinary (rather than the ...


Incorporation By Law, Joseph Raz Jan 2004

Incorporation By Law, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

My purpose here is to examine the question of how the law can be incorporated within morality and how the existence of the law can impinge on our moral rights and duties, a question (or questions) which is a central aspect of the broad question of the relation between law and morality. My conclusions cast doubts on the incorporation thesis, that is, the view that moral principles can become part of the law of the land by incorporation.


The Role Of Well-Being, Joseph Raz Jan 2004

The Role Of Well-Being, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

"Well-being" signifies the good life, the life which is good for the person whose life it is. I have argued that well-being consists in a wholehearted and successful pursuit of valuable relationships and goals. This view, a little modified, is defended , but the main aim of the article is to consider the role of well-being in practical thought. In particular I will examine a suggestion which says that when we care about people, and when we ought to care about people, what we do, or ought to, care about is their well-being. The suggestion is indifferent to who cares and ...


About Morality And The Nature Of Law, Joseph Raz Jan 2003

About Morality And The Nature Of Law, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

In support of my longstanding claim that the traditional divide between natural law and legal positivist theories of law, the present paper explores a variety of necessary connections between law and morality which are consistent with theories of law traditionally identified as positivist.


Reasoning With Rules, Joseph Raz Jan 2001

Reasoning With Rules, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

What is special about legal reasoning? In what way is it distinctive? How does it differ from reasoning in medicine, or engineering, physics, or everyday life? The answers range from the very ambitious to the modest. The ambitious claim that there is a special and distinctive legal logic, or legal ways of reasoning, modes of reasoning which set the law apart from all other disciplines. Opposing them are the modest, who claim that there is nothing special to legal reasoning, that reason is the same in all domains. According to them, only the contents of the law differentiate it from ...


A Theory Of Legal Presumptions, Antonio E. Bernardo, Eric L. Talley, Ivo Welch Jan 1999

A Theory Of Legal Presumptions, Antonio E. Bernardo, Eric L. Talley, Ivo Welch

Faculty Scholarship

This paper develops a theoretical account of presumptions, focusing on their capacity to mediate between costly litigation and ex ante incentives. We augment a standard moral hazard model with a redistributional litigation game in which a legal presumption parameterizes how a court "weighs" evidence offered by the opposing sides. Strong pro-defendant presumptions can foreclose lawsuits altogether, but also lead to shirking. Strong pro-plaintiff presumptions have the opposite effects. Moderate presumptions give rise to equilibria in which productive effort and suit occur probabilistically. The socially-optimal presumption trades off litigation costs against agency costs, and could be either strong or moderate, depending ...