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Articles 1 - 30 of 52

Full-Text Articles in Jurisprudence

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 ...


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 ...


Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2019

Finding Law, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

That the judge's task is to find the law, not to make it, was once a commonplace of our legal culture. Today, decades after Erie, the idea of a common law discovered by judges is commonly dismissed -- as a "fallacy," an "illusion," a "brooding omnipresence in the sky." That dismissive view is wrong. Expecting judges to find unwritten law is no childish fiction of the benighted past, but a real and plausible option for a modern legal system.

This Essay seeks to restore the respectability of finding law, in part by responding to two criticisms made by Erie and ...


A Theory Of Poverty: Legal Immobility, Sara Sternberg Greene Jan 2019

A Theory Of Poverty: Legal Immobility, Sara Sternberg Greene

Faculty Scholarship

The puzzle of why the cycle of poverty persists and upward class mobility is so difficult for the poor has long captivated scholars and the public alike. Yet with all of the attention that has been paid to poverty, the crucial role of the law, particularly state and local law, in perpetuating poverty is largely ignored. This Article offers a new theory of poverty, one that introduces the concept of legal immobility. Legal immobility considers the cumulative effects of state and local laws as a mechanism through which poverty is perpetuated and upward mobility is stunted. The Article provides an ...


Precedent And The Semblance Of Law, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2018

Precedent And The Semblance Of Law, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Like its author, Randy Kozel's *Settled Versus Right* is insightful, thoughtful, and kind, deeply committed to improving the world that it sees. But despite its upbeat tone, the book paints a dark picture of current law and the current Court. It depicts a society whose judges are, in a positive sense, *lawless* -- not because they disregard the law, but because they are without law, because they have no shared law to guide them. What they do share is an institution, a Court, whose commands are generally accepted. So *Settled Versus Right* makes the best of what we've got ...


How Asian Should Asian Law Be? – An Outsider’S View, Ralf Michaels Jan 2018

How Asian Should Asian Law Be? – An Outsider’S View, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

Is there an Asian identity of Asian law, comparable to European identity and therefore similarly useful as a justification for unification projects? If so, what does it look like? And if so, does this make Asia more like Europe, or less so? Or is this question itself already a mere European projection?

This chapter tries to address such questions. In particular, I look at a concrete project of Asian law unification—the Principles of Asian Comparative Law—and connect discussions about its Asian identity with four concepts of Asia. The first such concept is a European idea of Asia and ...


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 ...


The Law Of Interpretation, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2017

The Law Of Interpretation, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

How should we interpret legal instruments? How do we identify the law they create? Current approaches largely fall into two broad camps. The standard picture of interpretation is focused on language, using various linguistic conventions to discover a document's meaning or a drafter's intent. Those who see language as less determinate take a more skeptical view, urging judges to make interpretive choices on policy grounds. Yet both approaches neglect the most important resource available: the already applicable rules of law.

Legal interpretation is neither a subfield of linguistics nor an exercise in policymaking. Rather, it is deeply shaped ...


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 ...


Originalism Without Text, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2017

Originalism Without Text, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Originalism is not about the text. Though the theory is often treated as a way to read the Constitution’s words, that conventional view is misleading. A society can be recognizably originalist without any words to interpret: without a written constitution, written statutes, or any writing at all. If texts aren’t fundamental to originalism, then originalism isn’t fundamentally about texts. Avoiding that error helps us see what originalism generally is about: namely, our present constitutional law, and its dependence on a crucial moment in the past.


Custom In Our Courts: Reconciling Theory With Reality, Nikki C. Gutierrez, Mitu Gulati Jan 2016

Custom In Our Courts: Reconciling Theory With Reality, Nikki C. Gutierrez, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

One of the most heated debates of the last two decades in US legal academia centers on customary international law's domestic status after Erie Railroad v. Tompkins. At one end, champions of the "modern position" support CIL's wholesale incorporation into post-Erie federal common law. At the other end, "revisionists" argue that federal courts cannot apply CIL as federal law absent federal political branch authorization. Scholars on both sides of the Erie debate also make claims about what sources judges cite to when discerning CIL, which they then use to support their arguments regarding CIL's domestic status. Interestingly ...


Originalism’S Bite, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2016

Originalism’S Bite, William Baude, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Is originalism toothless? Richard Posner seems to think so. He writes that repeated theorizing by "intelligent originalists," one of us happily included, has rendered the theory "incoherent" and capable of supporting almost any result. We appreciate the attention, but we fear we've been misunderstood. Our view is that originalism permits arguments from precedent, changed circumstances, or whatever you like, but only to the extent that they lawfully derive from the law of the founding. This kind of originalism, surprisingly common in American legal practice, is catholic in theory but exacting in application. It might look tame, but it has ...


Comparative Law And Private International Law, Ralf Michaels Jan 2016

Comparative Law And Private International Law, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Wächter, Carl Georg Von, Ralf Michaels Jan 2016

Wächter, Carl Georg Von, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

Carl Georg von Wächter (1797-1880) was once considered 'one of the greatest German jurists of all times’, but was all but forgotten in the 20th century, despite an excellent dissertation on his work in private international law by Nikolaus Sandmann. In private international law, he is known mainly for his critique of earlier theories, in particular the theory of statutes. Positively, Wächter is mainly (and not accurately) known as a proponent of a strong preference for the lex fori and as such mainly presented in opposition to Friedrich Carl von Savigny’s theory (Savigny, Friedrich Carl von). Only recently has ...


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.


Resisting Wholesale Electronic Invasion Of The Fourth Amendment, Michael E. Tigar Jan 2015

Resisting Wholesale Electronic Invasion Of The Fourth Amendment, Michael E. Tigar

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Originalism As A Theory Of Legal Change, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2015

Originalism As A Theory Of Legal Change, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

Originalism is usually defended as a theory of interpretation. This Article presents a different view. Originalism ought to be defended, if at all, not based on normative goals or abstract philosophy, but as a positive theory of American legal practice, and particularly of our rules for legal change.

One basic assumption of legal systems is that the law, whatever it is, stays the same until it's lawfully changed. Originalism begins this process with an origin, a Founding. Whatever rules we had when the Constitution was adopted, we still have today -- unless something happened that was authorized to change them ...


Saving Originalism’S Soul, Stephen E. Sachs Jan 2014

Saving Originalism’S Soul, Stephen E. Sachs

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Can The Law Meet The Demands Made On It?, George C. Christie Jan 2014

Can The Law Meet The Demands Made On It?, George C. Christie

Faculty Scholarship

This is my contribution to a festscrift in honor of Professor Don Wallace on his retirement from the Georgetown University School of Law. My essay points out the problems and dangers of the increasing delegation to international and domestic courts, in broad and vague value-laden language, the responsibility of making basic moral and policy decisions for society. It saddles courts with a task that they are not particularly suited to perform and it is certainly not the way a democratic society should function.


Concepts Of Law, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Mark Turner Jan 2013

Concepts Of Law, Mathew D. Mccubbins, Mark Turner

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


A General Defense Of Erie Railroad Co. V. Tompkins, Ernest A. Young Jan 2013

A General Defense Of Erie Railroad Co. V. Tompkins, Ernest A. Young

Faculty Scholarship

Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins was the most important federalism decision of the Twentieth Century. Justice Brandeis’s opinion for the Court stated unequivocally that “[e]xcept in matters governed by the Federal Constitution or by acts of Congress, the law to be applied in any case is the law of the state. . . . There is no federal general common law.” Seventy-five years later, however, Erie finds itself under siege. Critics have claimed that it is “bereft of serious intellectual or constitutional support” (Michael Greve), based on a “myth” that must be “repressed” (Craig Green), and even “the worst decision of ...


Suboptimal Social Science And Judicial Precedent, Ben Grunwald Jan 2013

Suboptimal Social Science And Judicial Precedent, Ben Grunwald

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Dreaming Denationalized Law: Scholarship On Autonomous International Arbitration As Utopian Literature, Ralf Michaels Jan 2013

Dreaming Denationalized Law: Scholarship On Autonomous International Arbitration As Utopian Literature, Ralf Michaels

Faculty Scholarship

A completely denationalised law is of course a utopia. But it is a utopia not just in the broad sense of being unrealistic, at least for the present, and perhaps also for the future. No, it is a utopia in the very literal sense of the word. Recall what utopia means in Greek: no place. Delocalised arbitration, non-state law, is, quite literally, no-place law. It thus makes up a utopia in the central meaning of the term.

International Commercial Arbitration should be just about money. But its scholarship is full of invocations of dreams, visions, faith, utopia. These are not ...


The New Textualism, Progressive Constitutionalism, And Abortion Rights: A Reply To Jeffrey Rosen, Neil S. Siegel Jan 2013

The New Textualism, Progressive Constitutionalism, And Abortion Rights: A Reply To Jeffrey Rosen, Neil S. Siegel

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


The Politics Of Statutory Interpretation, Margaret H. Lemos Jan 2013

The Politics Of Statutory Interpretation, Margaret H. Lemos

Faculty Scholarship

In a new book, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts, Justice Antonin Scalia and Bryan Garner describe and defend the textualist methodology for which Justice Scalia is famous. For Scalia and Garner, the normative appeal of textualism lies in its objectivity: by focusing on text, context, and canons of construction, textualism offers protection against ideological judging—a way to separate law from politics. Yet, as Scalia and Garner well know, textualism is widely regarded as a politically conservative methodology. The charge of conservative bias is more common than it is concrete, but it reflects the notion that textualism narrows ...


Comment On “Excessive Ambitions (Ii)” By (Jon Elster), Donald L. Horowitz Jan 2013

Comment On “Excessive Ambitions (Ii)” By (Jon Elster), Donald L. Horowitz

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Nonsense And The Freedom Of Speech: What Meaning Means For The First Amendment, Joseph Blocher Jan 2013

Nonsense And The Freedom Of Speech: What Meaning Means For The First Amendment, Joseph Blocher

Faculty Scholarship

A great deal of everyday expression is, strictly speaking, nonsense. But courts and scholars have done little to consider whether or why such meaningless speech, like nonrepresentational art, falls within “the freedom of speech.” If, as many suggest, meaning is what separates speech from sound and expression from conduct, then the constitutional case for nonsense is complicated. And because nonsense is so common, the case is also important — artists like Lewis Carroll and Jackson Pollock are not the only putative “speakers” who should be concerned about the outcome.

This Article is the first to explore thoroughly the relationship between nonsense ...


Jurisdiction And Choice Of Law In International Antitrust Law - A Us Perspective, Ralf Michaels, Hannah L. Buxbaum Jan 2012

Jurisdiction And Choice Of Law In International Antitrust Law - A Us Perspective, Ralf Michaels, Hannah L. Buxbaum

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Judicial Decision Making In A World Of Natural Law And Natural Rights, George C. Christie Jan 2012

Judicial Decision Making In A World Of Natural Law And Natural Rights, George C. Christie

Faculty Scholarship

This article was my contribution to a symposium celebrating the achievements of John Finnis held at the Villanova University School of Law. Finnis’ greatest work is his Natural Law and Natural Rights. I agree with Finnis’ rejection of an approach to natural law which focuses on the notion of natural rights. Finnis’ approach instead focuses on a natural law that is based on the idea that there are certain basic human goods such as the search for knowledge, the maintenance of life, the sharing of fellowship with other human beings, the capacity to enjoy aesthetic experiences, and the exercise of ...


Interpretive Contestation And Legal Correctness, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2012

Interpretive Contestation And Legal Correctness, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.