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Boston College Law School

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jun 2006

The Common Law As An Iterative Process: A Preliminary Inquiry, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The common law often is casually referred to as an iterative process without much attention given to the detailed attributes such processes exhibit. This Article explores this characterization, uncovering how common law as an iterative process is one of endless repetition that is simultaneously stable and dynamic, self-similar but evolving, complex yet simple. These attributes constrain the systemic significance of judicial discretion and also confirm the wisdom of traditional approaches to studying and learning law. As an iterative system, common law exhibits what physicists call sensitive dependence on initial conditions. This generates a path dependency from which it may be ...


The Gratuities Debate And Campaign Reform – How Strong Is The Link?, George D. Brown May 2006

The Gratuities Debate And Campaign Reform – How Strong Is The Link?, George D. Brown

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The federal gratuities statute, 18 USC § 201(c), continues to be a source of confusion and contention. The confusion stems largely from problems of draftsmanship within the statute, as well as uncertainty concerning the relationship of the gratuities offense to bribery. Both offenses are contained in the same statute; the former is often seen as a lesser-included offense variety of the latter. The controversy stems from broader concerns about whether the receipt of gratuities by public officials, even from those they regulate, should be a crime. The argument that such conduct should not be criminalized can be traced to, and ...


The Notion Of Solidarity And The Secret History Of American Labor Law, Thomas C. Kohler Apr 2006

The Notion Of Solidarity And The Secret History Of American Labor Law, Thomas C. Kohler

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

“Solidarity,” a term not overly familiar to Americans, sometimes seems to have as many meanings as it has users. The concept became incorporated into American thought during the 19th and 20th century waves of Catholic and Jewish immigration. It provides a European vision of communitarian social order that competes with the “unencumbered self”—America’s unique brand of individualism. Among philosophers, politicians, religious thinkers, and social activists, solidarity theory sought to redefine the then-prevailing views of social bonds. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the American labor movement, which espouses as its core values the principles of unity and ...


Heights Of Justice (Introduction And Front Matter), Lawrence A. Cunningham Dec 2005

Heights Of Justice (Introduction And Front Matter), Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In this pioneering book, Boston College Law School’s Academic Dean, Lawrence Cunningham, arranges selected contributions of his faculty’s scholarship into a meditation upon justice. The book weaves a combination of theory and practice to articulate moral and ethical values that facilitate rational application of law. It envisions legal arrangements imbued with commitments of the Jesuit tradition, including the dignity of persons, the common good and compassion for the poor. This reflective collection of inquiry evokes a signature motif of the BC Law faculty in dozens of different legal subjects. Materials downloadable from this abstract consist of: Table of ...


Law And Accounting: Cases And Materials (Front Matter), Lawrence A. Cunningham Sep 2005

Law And Accounting: Cases And Materials (Front Matter), Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Accounting textbooks for law or business schools invariably provide secondary narrative presentations of materials in the authors’ own words. A better approach to learning this subject is to present thematically arranged original accounting pronouncements. In so designing this innovative book, readers appreciate how accounting is a tool that provides conceptual organization to economic exchange. The tool facilitates analyzing legal, business and public policy aspects of the transactions that accounting addresses. The original accounting standards, as well as SEC enforcement actions, presented in this book illuminate why transactions are pursued and related decisions made, economic aspects of transactions, and the conceptual ...


Finance Theory And Accounting Fraud: Fantastic Futures Versus Conservative Histories, Lawrence A. Cunningham Jan 2005

Finance Theory And Accounting Fraud: Fantastic Futures Versus Conservative Histories, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Intellectual tension between the fields of finance and accounting may help to explain explosion of public company frauds. Finance theory diminishes the relevance of accounting information. Enron exploited this consequence while the SEC bought into it. After widespread frauds were exposed, Congress passed laws that address symptoms of finance's futurism, not disease. Laws essentially prohibit pro forma financial reporting and regulate the selective flow of futuristic information to financial analysts. Untouched is the underlying disease of regulatory mandates requiring extensive disclosure of forward-looking information. Until the 1970s, the SEC prudently prohibited such futuristic disclosure as inherently unreliable; assisted by ...


Facilitating Auditing’S New Early Warning System: Control Disclosure, Auditor Liability And Safe Harbors, Lawrence A. Cunningham Apr 2004

Facilitating Auditing’S New Early Warning System: Control Disclosure, Auditor Liability And Safe Harbors, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article considers the interplay between new auditing standards governing audits of internal control over financial reporting and pre-existing legal standards governing auditor liability for audit failure. The interplay produces skewed liability incentives that, if unadjusted, threaten to impair the objective of this new control-audit regime. The regime’s objective is, in part, to provide an early warning to financial statement users when current financial statements are reliable but control weaknesses indicate material risk of a company’s future inability to produce reliable financial statements. To be meaningful, auditor disclosure of material weaknesses and potential effects is necessary. While liability ...


A New Product For The State Corporation Law Market: Audit Committee Certifications, Lawrence A. Cunningham Mar 2004

A New Product For The State Corporation Law Market: Audit Committee Certifications, Lawrence A. Cunningham

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Audit committees of corporate boards of directors are central to corporate governance for many corporations. Their effectiveness in supervising financial managers and overseeing the financial reporting process is important to promote reliable financial statements. This centrality suggests that it is likewise important for investors and others to have a basis for justifiable confidence in audit committee effectiveness. At present, there is no such mechanism. This Article explains why, considers a way states can provide it and assesses as low the likelihood that states will do so. In the swirling corporate governance reforms led by SOX, the SEC, SROs and PCAOB ...


Endangered Species Act Lessons Over 30 Years, And The Legacy Of The Snail Darter, A Small Fish In A Pork Barrel, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Jan 2004

Endangered Species Act Lessons Over 30 Years, And The Legacy Of The Snail Darter, A Small Fish In A Pork Barrel, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

Why is it – amidst the flood of environmental statutes that poured into the law books and national consciousness in the remarkable decade of the 1970s – that the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) stands out as quite uniquely different? This Essay briefly surveys the ESA’s differentness, its special political context, the citizen suit of great notoriety that fired up the ESA’s political hotseat back in 1975, and what has changed and what has not in the years since that first eco-legal outburst.


The Three Economies: An Essay In Honor Of Joseph Sax, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Jun 1998

The Three Economies: An Essay In Honor Of Joseph Sax, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

How does one evaluate the important public values and impacts of things that do not have a market price and then integrate them into the fabric of our system of social governance? That question lies within most or all of Joseph Sax's work over the years. The first part of this article represents an attempt to distill some of Joseph Sax's intellectual dimensions, beyond those already chronicled in the comments of other contributors to this symposium, with some linked themes and observations drawn from Sax beyond his writings. The second part, instigated by several of Sax's articles ...


Transracial Adoption (Tra): Old Prejudices And Discrimination Float Under A New Halo, Ruth-Arlene W. Howe Jan 1997

Transracial Adoption (Tra): Old Prejudices And Discrimination Float Under A New Halo, Ruth-Arlene W. Howe

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The primary aim of this article is to place the late twentieth century Transracial Adoption (TRA) of African-American children accurately within the context of the child welfare system milieu out of which it emerged. It also endeavors to provide thoughtful scholars and child advocates a new lens with which to assess the past purpose, function, and efficacy of TRA. The author hopes that through these considerations more careful regulation and monitoring of future TRA placements will emerge, which will both protect the interests of the African-American adoptee and respect the African-American community.


The Misuse Of Tax Incentives To Align Management-Shareholder Interests, James R. Repetti Jan 1997

The Misuse Of Tax Incentives To Align Management-Shareholder Interests, James R. Repetti

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The U.S. tax system contains many provisions which are intended to align management of large publicly traded companies more closely to stockholders. This article shows that many of the tax provisions that have been adopted are of questionable effectiveness because they fail to address the complexities of stockholder-management relations in attempting to motivate management to act in the best interests of stockholders. The article proposes that rather than Congress attempting to identify the best way that it can use the tax system to motivate management, Congress should eliminate tax provisions which subsidize management's inefficiencies in order to encourage ...


Facing A Time Of Counter-Revolution: The Kepone Incident And A Review Of First Principles, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Jan 1995

Facing A Time Of Counter-Revolution: The Kepone Incident And A Review Of First Principles, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The Kepone contamination episode of 1966-75 was a milestone that focused an entire nation’s attention on environmental hazards and our need to do better in recognizing and avoiding them. We have learned a great deal from that unfortunate story. The evolution of American environmental law since the Kepone debacle has repeatedly used the incident as a touchstone in identifying environmental pollution’s causes, effects, and potential solutions. This essay offers four propositions, about two things that have changed, and two things that have not, in the years since Kepone, taking account of where we are, and seeking some points ...


Restoring The Natural Law: Copyright As Labor And Possession, Alfred C. Yen Jan 1990

Restoring The Natural Law: Copyright As Labor And Possession, Alfred C. Yen

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

In this Article, Professor Yen explores the problems associated with viewing copyright solely as a tool for achieving economic efficiency and advocates for the restoration of natural law to copyright jurisprudence. The Article demonstrates that economics has not been solely responsible for copyright’s development and basic structure, but has rather developed along lines suggested by neutral law, despite modern copyright jurisprudence. The Article considers the consequences of extinguishing copyright’s natural law facets in favor of the blind pursuit of efficiency and concludes by exploring the implications of restoring natural law thinking to copyright jurisprudence.


Through The Looking Glass Of Eminent Domain: Exploring The "Arbitrary And Capricious" Test And Substantive Rationality Review Of Governmental Decisions, Zygmunt J.B. Plater Jan 1989

Through The Looking Glass Of Eminent Domain: Exploring The "Arbitrary And Capricious" Test And Substantive Rationality Review Of Governmental Decisions, Zygmunt J.B. Plater

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

The day-to-day realities of different systems of government can be discerned in the way they handle, in theory and practice, clashes between the individual and the collective will. The structure of contemporary American democracy is no exception. It is comprised of a variegated assortment of judicial formulae for balancing the interests of the individual and the state, most of these formulae tracing back with differing degrees of directness to textual bases in the first nine amendments to the federal Constitution or their state constitutional equivalents. One of these basic structural balancings, encountered early on by every student of American law ...