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University of Michigan Law School

Constitutional Law

Formalism

Publication Year

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Full-Text Articles in Judges

Judge Posner's Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman Apr 2015

Judge Posner's Simple Law, Mitchell N. Berman

Michigan Law Review

The world is complex, Richard Posner observes in his most recent book, Reflections on Judging. It follows that, for judges to achieve “sensible” resolutions of real-world disputes—by which Judge Posner means “in a way that can be explained in ordinary language and justified as consistent with the expectations of normal people” (p. 354)—they must be able to navigate the world’s complexity successfully. To apply legal rules correctly and (where judicial lawmaking is called for) to formulate legal rules prudently, judges must understand the causal mechanisms and processes that undergird complex systems, and they must be able to ...


Interpretation And Institutions, Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule Feb 2003

Interpretation And Institutions, Cass R. Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule

Michigan Law Review

Suppose that a statute, enacted several decades ago, bans the introduction of any color additive in food if that additive "causes cancer" in human beings or animals. Suppose that new technologies, able to detect low-level carcinogens, have shown that many potential additives cause cancer, even though the statistical risk is often tiny - akin to the risk of eating two peanuts with governmentally-permitted levels of aflatoxins. Suppose, finally, that a company seeks to introduce a certain color additive into food, acknowledging that the additive causes cancer, but urging that the risk is infinitesimal, and that if the statutory barrier were applied ...


Reply: The Institutional Dimension Of Statutory And Constitutional Interpretation, Richard A. Posner Feb 2003

Reply: The Institutional Dimension Of Statutory And Constitutional Interpretation, Richard A. Posner

Michigan Law Review

Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule argue in Interpretation and lnstitutions that judicial interpretation of statutes and constitutions should take account both of the institutional framework within which interpretation takes place and of the consequences of different styles of interpretation; they further argue that this point has been neglected by previous scholars. The first half of the thesis is correct but obvious; the second half, which the authors state in terms emphatic to the point of being immodest, is incorrect. Moreover, the authors offer no feasible suggestions for how the relation between interpretation and the institutional framework might be studied better ...